The news at 9.45!
BONG! Cluj defeat a listless Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford in a match not really interesting enough to dwell on but decided by quite a sweet goal!
BONG! But the heroic Romanians go out anyway because of their head to head record against Galatasaray, who beat Braga in Portugal!
BONG! Chelsea are also out, despite winning 6-1!
BONG! Lionel Messi came on for Barcelona, in search of a record-breaking 85th goal of the season. In the 85th minute of their match against Benfica, he injured his foot and may not get another chance to break the record.
BONG! Celtic beat Spartak Moscow 2-1 and are through!
BONG! Bayern beat Bate 4-1 despite Boateng's red card and they win group F!
BONG! Um, that's it. In short, it was a very interesting night (if you weren't watching Manchester United v Cluj).
Peeeeeeeep! It's all over and Cluj have beaten Manchester United!
90+5 mins: United have lost a home game in the Champions League for the first time in three years, but it doesn't do Cluj a lot of good – they're out!
90+4 mins: Not finished here yet, but it has finished in Braga, where Galatasaray's victory means Cluj will go into the Europa League.
90+3 mins: Felgueiras, the Cluj goalkeeper, has taken so long over that goal kick that he has been booked for timewasting.
90+2 mins: Another good cross from Jones is cleared to the edge of the area, where Scholes volleys the ball vaguely goalwards. It hits a defender, loops up, and Macheda hooks it away for a goal kick. Cluj bring on Kapetanos for Sougou.
90+1 mins: We're into the first of four minutes' stoppage time.
90 mins: Scholes is booked for nibbling at Aguirregaray's ankles.
88 mins: United have not been very good today. Cluj's keeper has played well, but there hasn't been a lot to truly trouble him.
87 mins: The ball comes in from the left, Macheda cocks his left foot, but at the last moment Hernández decides he wants a go and diverts it away from his teammate to safety.
85 mins: Giggs chips the ball delightfully to Jones in the penalty area, he taps the ball centrewards and the ball is scrappily cleared from Rooney and Hernández. It's the last thing Giggs will do – Darren Fletcher will replace him for the closing moments.
84 mins: I certainly can't remember hearing Old Trafford so quiet, at least not on a match-day. There are some high-pitched chants of "United" going on, suggesting a school outing or two.
83 mins: The scoreline in Portugal would appear to make this match a total irrelevance – United will top the group even if they lose, and Cluj will come third even if they win.
81 mins: Celtic, meanwhile, have scored a penalty against Spartak Moscow – just, off the bar – and are 2-1 up.
79 mins: Disaster for Cluj – Galatasaray have scored, and if Braga don't equalise the Romanians are out!
76 mins: Cluj are defending what they've got, and will do so without Rafael Bastos, a forward, and with Vasile Maftei, another defender.
74 mins: Chelsea are now 6-1 up against Nordsjaelland. Six. Hernández pops the ball to Rooney, who tries to play in Macheda, but the goalkeeper is out quickly again to claim the ball first.
73 mins: A nice ball from Rooney finds Jones, whose first cross is deflected back to his feet, but the keeper is out fast and brave to block that one too. United bring on Macheda for Powell.
70 mins: United attack again, eventually sliding the ball back for Scholes to thump over the bar from 30 yards. Cluj take off Rui Pedro and bring on Matias Aguirregaray, denying the Old Trafford faithful a full 20 minutes of lusty booing.
66 mins: Rui Pedro has the ball in a decent position, but tries and fails to shimmy beyond Giggs with a showy pirouette, giving the ball away. United run down the other end, where the ball is pulled back from the right and Giggs appears to slide a shot goalwards. It's a good chance, but it hits a defender and is cleared. Rui Pedro is still on the ground rolling about, and there's fury from Cluj's players that United didn't put the ball out, but he's absolutely fine and is totally cheating, and United were absolutely right to ignore him.
63 mins: Prediction: if United are still even close to this at the end of the season, they won't be in the top four.
Manchester Utd have now conceded the opening goal in 15 of their 23 games this season, that's 65%!— David Wall (@1DavidWall) December 5, 2012
60 mins: Büttner, who's quite sprightly, crosses from the left but the ball is a bit too high for Rooney, who does well to send it vaguely towards goal but can't send it actually towards goal.
60 mins: More relevantly, Burak Yılmaz has equalised for Galatasaray at Braga, which means that another goal for the Turks, or an equaliser for United, would relegate Cluj to the Europa League.
59 mins: Good news for Chelsea: Shakhtar Donetsk have scored! Bad news for Chelsea: it was an own goal!
GOAL! Manchester United 0-1 Cluj (Luís Alberto 56)
Scholes gives the ball away in midfield, and then in his desperation to make up for it goes diving in, mistiming his tackle and getting nowhere near ball or man. The ball is switched to Luís Alberto, who takes a few touches, looks right, looks left, and then swings his foot and sends the ball swerving and screeching into the top corner from 25 yards. Blammo!
55 mins: Muresan gets an unlikely amount of swerve on his 45-yard shot. It remains, however, a 45-yard shot and De Gea would certainly have saved it even if it hadn't gone over the bar.
54 mins: A lovely ball from Powell finds Rooney, wide of the right-hand post. He could have put his foot through it, but instead he tries to slide it back across goal for Hernández and a defender gets in the way.
52 mins: Around-the-grounds update: Chelsea have let a goal in at Stamford Bridge, where they lead Nordsjaelland 2-1, while in Germany Bayern Munich have had a man sent off and taken a 2-0 lead, in that order, in the last few minutes.
50 mins: Cluj hare off down to the other end, and with a better final pass and an improved first touch would have played their way through a far-from-solid United rearguard.
50 mins: Rooney sends a free-kick, from a very dangerous position, straight into the wall. Niall Quinn remarks that "he couldn't get it up". Fnarr fnarr etc.
48 mins: Cadu fouls Powell and is booked, either for dissent, or for persistent foul play, or for that foul on its own, all of which were probably worth a booking, I reckon.
47 mins: First shot of the second half is from Büttner, with a free kick that flies at some pace a couple of yards over the bar.
46 mins: They're off! Again!
Tonight's is not the greatest match ever, or even the best of the week, or the night. So all the more reason to remember this one – the reason why apparently irrelevant final matches of group stages can be worth paying attention to. I was in Suwon that day, and it was a thriller, including probably the best goal I have ever seen a centre-back score. Other highlights of that day: an excellent lunch of suwon galbi (table-barbecued beef), and admiring the city's many splendid public toilets. They like toilets in Suwon, so much so that the city now boasts the world's only toilet-focused theme park.
45+1 mins: Peeeeeeep! That's it for an understated half, one that ends with both sides in qualifying spots. Torres puts Chelsea two goals up at Stamford Bridge.
45 mins: A long goal kick, a flick, another flick, a header, and Rui Pedro has a shooting chance from just outside United's penalty area. The shot, sadly, isn't up to much.
43 mins: Cleverley is coming off, and Scholes replacing him. Presumably an injury, and Cleverley has disappeared immediately down the tunnel towards the nearest phsyio.
40 mins: Another save from Felgueiras! And a terrible miss! The first comes from Rooney's attempted chip, the Cluj keeper again flicking out his left hand to push the ball away. The ball is chased down and sent back in, where Smalling heads the ball just wide of the far post. He should have scored there.
39 mins: Great save on the goalline! Rooney takes the corner, Welbeck meets it and Felgueiras somehow flaps the ball off the line with his left fist.
38 mins: Cleverley's first-time toe-poke very nearly puts Hernández clear on goal, but it's slightly too strong and the goalkeeper clears. Meanwhile at Stamford Bridge, the third penalty of the first half has been converted by David Luíz.
35 mins: For the sake of completeness – and to avoid infuriating Pat D'Arcy more than it seems I already have – I should point out that Bayern Munich are a goal up against BATE, Mario Gomez with it. Meanwhile at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have now missed a penalty too.
34 mins: Braga have gone a goal up against Galatasaray, and as things stand Cluj are going through in second place.
33 mins: Nordsjaelland have just missed a penalty at Stamford Bridge, where the score remains 0-0.
30 mins: Muresan produces the most optimistic first-time long-range shot of the night, and it flies very emphatically over – though he hit the ball so hard that it deflated, and De Gea needs a new one before he'll take the goal kick. "Ryan Dunne is wrong about Vampire Cluj," writes Justin Kavanagh. "I think De Gea would be more fearful of crosses than the Romanians. Perhaps the Spaniard is a vamp himself, unable to resist the blood red centre of an English doughnut? He also bears an uncanny resemblance to former United keeper, Paddy Roche. Could it be the same vampire, slightly bearded, coming back to his old drinking grounds?"
28 mins: Cluj attack down the left, and Sougou gets to the low cross first, but the ball once again goes wide off Wootton.
25 mins: Welbeck steals the ball from Piccolo, and prods the ball to Cleverley, running into the massive hole in the defence that Piccolo would normally be in. A wonderful chance, lost when Cleverley takes one heavy touch too many and the goalkeeper gets in the way of his shot.
24 mins: This statistic will not change your life.
Ryan Giggs is playing his 77th CL match on a Wednesday, equal to Clarence Seedorf. Only Raul has more more Wednesday games - 85— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaLive) December 5, 2012
23 mins: The corner isn't much cop, but it's cleared back to the taker whose second effort, driven low and hard, is much more threatening (but also cleared).
22 mins: Wootton gives the ball away and it's swiftly worked to Sougou, clear on goal, whose extremely dangerous-looking shot is deflected behind by Wootton.
22 mins: A goal in Europe! And it's Celtic who have got it, Hooper putting them 1-0 up in their genuinely important match against Spartak Moscow.
20 mins: Buttner's cross from the left is overhit, but Welbeck chases it down and lays back for Jones to hit a considerably better cross, which the goalkeeper flaps at and drops to Powell, who can't quite profit.
18 mins: Cluj are definitely out to win this, though so far they've looked most dangerous when they don't have the ball, as they commit men forward to close down United's defenders. The men in red don't seem at all comfortable with all the attention.
17 mins: Powell gets upended in midfield, and needs quite lengthy treatment.
16 mins: Quarter of an hour – a sixth of the match – gone and not a single goal in the Champions League tonight.
14 mins: All a bit scrappy so far. "When you heard Sir Alex refer to Rooney's 'great appetite', did your heart sink in anticipation of countless emails containing 'jokes' about Rooney eating a lot, or soar at the prospect of actually getting some emails?" asks George Wright. A combination of the two, would be the honest answer. "Just in case it's the latter, I'll make the point that maybe if Rooney's appetite wasn't so great, perhaps he wouldn't have to play every game to stay fit."
13 mins: Bastos lines up a shot, but in the time it takes him to wind up his right leg Giggs slides in and takes the ball, meaning that when Bastos does finally swing his foot he gets mainly air, and a little bit of Giggs buttock. He (Bastos) rolls around for a while in apparent agony, but now seems to have recovered.
10 mins: United work the ball well to United, on the right corner of the penalty area. He tries a right-footed cross but it's poor, fails to get off the ground and is cleared straight back at him, so he tries a left-footed shot and it is also poor, but for precisely the opposite reason – it's way to high and balloons into the stand.
7 mins: United pass the ball around the defence, not very cleverly, ending with it being passed to Smalling on the penalty spot with Rafael Bastos only a few yards away. He panicks, gives the ball away and the subsequent shot is unconvincingly saved by De Gea.
6 mins: Down the other end, United win a corner and Welbeck's first to that as well, though he's well short of the near post and can't direct his header on target.
4 mins: The free kick, from a dangerous position, is utterly useless, and zips across the ground to the nearest defender, Welbeck, who clears.
3 mins: After a couple of minutes of huff and puff, Ivo Pinto gets down the right, cuts inside Büttner and goes over the defender's leg to win a free kick.
1 min: Cluj, in green shirts and black shorts, kick off heading.
The teams are in the tunnel!
So we're not at all far away from action. I'm not sure I've ever paid enough attention to the tunnel area at Old Trafford. It's basically rubbish, and in desperate need to a bit of a paint job, at the very least, or better still a full makeover involving trend-setting wallpaper and scatter-cushions.
"Given that Romania is famous for its vampires and models, does anyone else think it's missing a trick with the names of its football teams?" wonders Ryan Dunne. "'Vampire' could be a 'Dynamo' style prefix; I bet Fergie wouldn't send his reserves out to play the fearsome sounding 'Vampire Clujj'." Perhaps he'd just arm them with crucifixes and slips some extra garlic in the pre-match tea urn.
Sir Alex Ferguson speaks!
Specifically, about playing young players in the Champions League, and playing Wayne Rooney when you don't really need to.
That's always been the intention, and probably the mistake we made last year, playing the young players in all the games. Last year, we got caught napping. This year we didn't make that mistake but the last two games, these young players have had that opportunity.
"I think Wayne needs the games. He needs to play all the time, wants to play all the time, and he's got that great appetite to do it."
In case you're wondering, you're allowed to not know who Marnick Vermijl is. His only previous appearance for United came against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup earlier this season. He's a defender.
They are in, and they look like this:
Manchester United: De Gea; Jones, Wootton, Smalling, Büttner; Powell, Cleverley, Giggs; Welbeck, Rooney, Hernández. Subs from: Lindegaard, Rafael, Young, Scholes, Fletcher, Macheda, Vermijl.
Cluj: Felgueiras; Ivo Pinto, Cadú, Piccolo, Rada; Muresan, Luís Alberto, Ruid Pedro, Camora; Sougou, Rafael Bastos. Subs from: Stancioiu, Sepsi, Kapetanos, Maftei, Bjelanovic, Godemeche, Aguirregaray.
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy).
On the face of it, this looks like the least important match of the night, and possibly many other nights. Probably not the least important match ever, but certainly closer to that end of the importance spectrum than the other one, the one with World Cup finals, Liverpool v Arsenal 1989 and Carlisle v Bournemouth 1998 at it.
Manchester United have already won Group H, so this match is little more than an elaborate televised leg-warming exercise for their players. Cluj will definitely still be playing European football in the new year, making this their finest ever season of continental competition, but they do not yet know if this will be in the lucrative Champions League or the less lucrative but still not bad Europa League. So it's important in Romania. These are the key facts:
• Cluj must better Galatasaray’s result at Braga if they are to stay in the Champions League, but can finish no lower than third, so will probably end up in the Europa League.
• Manchester United have a 100% success rate in their five matches against Romanian teams.
• Daniele Orsato, the referee, comes from Italy. According to Italian Wikipedia, was invited as a special guest of the Romanian Football Federation to officiate this year's Romanian cup final between Rapid Bucharest and Dinamo Bucharest, so he's clearly got chums in Romania.
• This is quite possibly the weirdest music video I've ever seen, at least since the Tracey Ullman one with Neil Kinnock in it. In it some ducks go on a murderous rampage in a council estate. It's not entirely relevant to tonight, but is a diverting way to spend a few minutes if you've got 'em.
Simon will be here shortly. In the meantime, an excerpt from Daniel Taylor's preview (which, admittedly, is more of a look ahead to the Manchester derby):
Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his Manchester United team they will be vulnerable to another bad defeat against Manchester City unless they drastically improve the "Cartoon Cavalcade" defending that has left their manager contemplating whether they have ever looked so susceptible at the back during his 26 years in charge.
Ferguson said he had been dismayed by United's defensive record and reported "absolutely no chance" of Nemanja Vidic featuring in Sunday's derby now his captain has pulled out of a possible comeback in their Champions League tie against Cluj at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
This season United have conceded 21 goals from 15 league fixtures, their highest since the corresponding point of the 2001-02 campaign, when they finished third. Between them, Anders Lindegaard and David de Gea have been beaten 32 times in all competitions. Last season at this stage it was 23, though that figure is skewed by the six that were conceded in one match against City. There have been four clean sheets.
Ferguson, who intends to play Wayne Rooney in an otherwise vastly changed lineup against Cluj specifically to hone his sharpness for Sunday, was particularly aggrieved by the defending in Saturday's 4-3 win at Reading and plans to arrange extra practice at dealing with set pieces before the weekend.
"We're getting punished for every ball that goes in the box at the moment but, saying that, we should still be defending far better," Ferguson said. "Reading produced some fantastic balls into the box but we do, and should, expect better. It's a worry, it's a concern. If we perform like that on Sunday, then God knows what's going to happen to us."