Pinto humbles Veron-less Red Devils

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Manchester United, playing without Juan Sebastian Veron, were beaten 3-1 by Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Manchester United started life without Argentinian playmaker Juan Sebastian Veron with a 3-1 humbling at the hands of Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon to celebrate the opening of the stadium that will feature at next year's Euro 2004 finals. Two goals from Portuguese veteran Joao Pinto - both in the second-half - and a first-half goal by Luis Felipe were enough to see off a lifeless United side, that relied on a late own goal by Hugo as a consolation. Even though Veron had left earlier in the day to seal his 15 million pounds move to Chelsea, manager Alex Ferguson opted to leave hardman midfielder Roy Keane on the bench along with Dutch hitman Ruud van Nistelrooy. However, even with first choices such as Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes in the starting line-up they were made to look distinctly second rate. (PTI)