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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Historic 6-Goal Mauling Inspires Man United

PARIS -- Manchester United may have lost 6-3 to Southampton on Saturday, but manager Alex Ferguson can take comfort from the fate of the victorious 1968 Manchester team as he entertains Fenerbahce on Wednesday in the Champions League.


West Brom was the last team to beat Manchester United 6-3 on April 29 1968, but less than a month later the Red Devils, managed by the great Sir Matt Busby, were crowned European Cup winners -- the first English side to win the trophy.


However, United has several injury problems with both influential central defender Gary Pallister and midfielder Nicky Butt unlikely to play.


Welsh winger Ryan Giggs, who missed the last four premiership matches, is still rated doubtful but Ferguson can bring back Norwegian summer signing Ronny Johnsen to bolster a defense that has leaked an astonishing 11 goals in their last two league matches.


United looked a different side against Fenerbahce two weeks ago, when even Frenchman Eric Cantona played an influential role in a season that has been more remarkable for his lack of outstanding displays.


Ferguson must be concerned that the Frenchman's lack of form has led to two bookings in the last two games, and he was lucky to stay on the pitch Saturday after taking on Dutchman Ulrich Van Gobbel in the tunnel at halftime.


Fenerbahce will still be missing English striker Dalian Atkinson, who is in dispute over his contract, but has a useful foreign contingent in Nigerian midfielder Jay Jay Okocha and mercurial Bulgarian striker Emil Kostadinov.


Reigning European champions Juventus, United's major rivals in their group, is at home to Rapid Vienna and coach Marcello Lippi has urged his team to convert more of their chances, after hitting the post 11 times in 10 matches.


"We've got to learn to handle the match better when we are in front. We've improved in many ways but not on a psychological level. We were too presumptuous against Roma," Lippi said, referring to the equalizer Roma scored in the third minute of injury time Saturday.


Rapid, last season's Cup Winners Cup finalists, relies on the strong spine of Bulgarian veteran defender Trifon Ivanov, who recently announced his retirement from international football, playmaker Peter Stoger and striker Christian Stumpf, who scored four goals in the team's run to the Cup Winners Cup final.


Group B sees a rematch between the Borussia Dortmund, which has won three out of three, and Atletico Madrid.


Dortmund, boosted by a five-goal demolition of Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday, beat Atletico 1-0 in Madrid a fortnight ago despite missing the injured Matthias Sammer and Andy Moeller.


Moeller returns for the home match, but Dortmund is still without Sammer, Jurgen Kohler, Steffen Freund and Martin Kree, who suffered a thigh injury on Saturday. Kree is replaced by Norwegian Steinar Peddersen.


Atletico, which will be without Argentinian playmaker Diego Simeone, who is suspended, will have to suffer some surprising reverses to not qualify as Steaua Bucharest and Widzw Lodz, the other members of the group, have already been heavily beaten by them.


In Group D, AC Milan coach Oscar Washington Tabarez will hope that his struggling side can retain its interest this season in a competition they have won five times, by avenging their 2-1 defeat in Gothenberg two weeks ago.


Milan, beaten three times in seven serie A matches this season, has not settled under Tabarez, and with noises been made about hiring under pressure, Italian national coach Arrigo Sacchi's morale must be at its lowest ebb for a very long time.


Porto, who top the table with nine points, can virtually clinch a place in the knockout stage by beating Rosenborg at home.


Group A is a very tight group. Grasshopper Zurich, Ajax, the 1995 European Cup champions, and Auxerre are all on six points.


Auxerre, which is away in Zurich, will be missing striker Thomas Deniaud, scorer of three goals in the Champions League and who was ruled out for two months after tearing ankle ligaments.


With Australian sweeper Ned Zelic ruled out, Auxerre coachGuy Roux has been delighted with the performances of Nigerian Taribo West.


Grasshopper, relies on midfielder Murat Yakin and Swiss international striker Kubilay Turkyilmaz for its creativity and goals.


Ajax should pick up three points away at Rangers, deprived of troubled playmaker Paul Gascoigne who is suspended after being sent off in the previous match in Amsterdam.