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Struggling United held by Juventus

SoccerNews in English Premier League, Serie A 6 Aug 2008

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Manchester United were held to a 0-0 draw by Juventus here on Wednesday night as Sir Alex Ferguson's injury-hit squad struggled to overcome the Italians.

United's lengthy casualty list, in the build-up to the new Premier League campaign, left manager Sir Alex Ferguson without a host of star names against the Italian giants.

Cristiano Ronaldo's ankle injury, Wayne Rooney's mystery virus and the injuries that have left Gary Neville, Owen Hargreaves, Michael Carrick and Ji-Sung Park on the sidelines have left Ferguson with a selection headache ahead of Sunday's Community Shield clash with Portsmouth at Wembley on Sunday.

The lack of attacking options, in particular, was evident against Claudio Ranieri's team and Carlos Tevez was once again forced to shoulder the goalscoring burden.

Tevez has endured a busy pre-season campaign, with this his sixth appearance already since the European champions returned to action at Aberdeen on July 12, and he has also been forced to deal with some heavy treatment from opposing defenders in his outings so far.

With Rooney and Ronaldo ruled out of the start of the season and Louis Saha seemingly not figuring in Ferguson's plans, Tevez is the only proven goalscorer available to the United manager, so he would have grimaced at the treatment being dished out the former West Ham forward by the Juventus defenders in the first-half.

Tevez was fortunate to escape a red card after reacting angrily to some over-zealous challenges during Saturday's victory over Espanyol and, although he continued to bear the brunt of some traditional Italian defending, Tevez kept his temper in check on this occasion.

However he did well to keep his cool following a scything tackle from behind by Nicola Legrottaglie midway through the first-half. Tevez writhed on the turf in agony, but he eventually rose to his feet to continue in the game.

But barring a 38th minute header from Darren Fletcher, that was well saved by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, the first-half was devoid of goalscoring chances.

The European champions raised their game in the second-half, however, and midfielder Paul Scholes should have put United ahead when he was picked out on the edge of the six-yard box by substitute Rafael Da Silva on 51 minutes.

But former England midfielder Scholes somehow headed over the crossbar when it appeared easier to hit the target.

As the game wore on, neither team could find the breakthrough and United completed their pre-season preparations with a 0-0 draw against a team they could yet meet again in the Champions League this season.

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