United wary of Benzema threat
Rio Ferdinand thinks Karim Benzema is the main threat to Man Utd's chances of making it through to the quarter-finals.
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 04/03/08 8:44am
Rio Ferdinand has admitted that how Manchester United deal with Karim Benzema could determine the outcome of their UEFA Champions League tie with Lyon, while Sir Alex Ferguson has likened the French youngster to Zinedine Zidane.
Benzema fired Lyon ahead in the first leg before Carlos Tevez grabbed a late away goal to put United in a good position ahead of Tuesday's match at Old Trafford.
But Ferdinand was impressed by Benzema and believes he is the main threat to United's chances of making it through to the quarter-finals.
"He got the ball, took a touch and, in one motion, opened up and scored. It was a fantastic finish," Ferdinand recalled.
"Hopefully tomorrow night we won't be giving him as much space to work with.
"In the Champions League you are always going to come up against players capable of doing that. How well you do against them usually decides who goes through."
Ferguson, who has been linked with a summer move for Benzema, feels the 20-year-old has the talent to enjoy similar success to France legend Zidane.
The United boss said: "He is a very strong boy, he reminds me of Zidane physique-wise and possibly pace-wise too. He is a natural centre-forward I think."
Ferguson expects the second leg to be an open contest as Lyon will be forced to go in search of an away goal.
He explained: "I said before the first leg it will be decided at Old Trafford. I don't think there was ever going to be a situation where one team was in a comfortable position.
"We have work to do but there is a good prospect of a really exciting game. Lyon know they have to score and that gives it an interesting prospect."
Ferguson's main injury concern is Ryan Giggs, who has been struggling with a calf strain since the match in France.
"The blow he took in the Lyon game is more complicated than first thought," admitted Ferguson.
"He did a bit of training this morning and he is having treatment but he is a doubt."