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Manchester United chase retribution and glory

unitedIt was two months ago that Manchester United began their UEFA Champions League journey after a one-year absence from Europe’s premier competition, and the night was far from auspicious. Not only did United lose the game against PSV Eindhoven, they lost their best right back, too.

Luke Shaw was consigned to a season on the sidelines with a horrific injury that left his leg broken in two places after a strong challenge by Hector Moreno. Shaw is on the road to recovery, but that road won’t lead to him to watching the reverse fixture at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Manager Louis Van Gaal has given the young defender four days’ leave to take his mind off all things football, especially rekindling memories of that painful night in The Netherlands.

“I thought that was perhaps why he was fed up, the thought of having to watch the PSV game with his colleagues. So he can have some time off, then on Friday he has a scan and we learn more about how the injury is going,” said Van Gaal.

For the villain in that piece, Hector Moreno, coming to the home to Manchester United will be a daunting task – United fans are likely to greet the Eindhoven defender with a chorus of ‘boos’ every time he takes a touch.

Eindhoven coach Philip Cocu, however, hopes his man is spared the agony. Asked if he thought Moreno would be targeted by United fans, Cocu replied: “I hope not.”

The Shaw-Moreno saga aside, Manchester United vs PSV Eindhoven is a crucial encounter for the English club. A win would guarantee passage into the Round of 16. Any other result would leave them with the daunting task of beating Wolfsburg away in Germany in the last round of group stage games.

United will hope the injured Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are match fit – both strikers missed the Premier League game against Watford, though a cautious Van Gaal may have had one eye on the Champions League. Memphis’ return to goal-scoring form over the weekend will also be a welcome boost.

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