Manchester United and Real Madrid played to an exciting 1 – 1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League matchup Wednesday.
Madrid almost took the early lead in the 5’, as Fabio Cointreau’s curling effort looked destined for goal. Unfortunately for the home side, goalkeeper David De Gea was just able to get his fingers to the ball,tipping it onto the far post and out of danger.
It was United who were able to first capitalize on an early opportunity, as Danny Welbeck got the all-important away goal in the 19’. Welbeckcreatedgreat separation from his marker and was able to guide the Wayne Rooney corner just inside the far post with a header.
With the goal, Welbeck became just the second Englishman to ever score against Real at the Bernebeau in the Champions League, joining Alan Smith of Leeds United. (Source: OptaJose)
Not one to be beaten at home, Madrid stepped up their game after conceding and carried much of the pressure through the rest of the half. It would only take the home side another 10 minutes of play to find an equalizer, as Cristiano Ronaldo showed great poise in the air and headed home a brilliant cross from Di Maria.
The second half provided plenty more excitement, including a couple of close-calls for Madrid. Robin Van Persieseemed intent on joining the scoring action;hitting the crossbar in the 71’, and nearly scoring just a minute later before Xabi Alonso cleared the ball off the Madrid goal-line.
Ronaldo also seemed intent on scoring his second of the night, putting several balls just wide of De Gea’s goal. The teams traded possession and momentum for most of the second half, but there were to be no more goals this evening.
The game was a lost opportunity for Real Madrid to score a home win and take a lead into the second leg, but ultimately a fine result after conceding an early goal.
Manchester United will be more than happy to take the aggregate lead back home, but they return to Old Trafford with cautious optimism, knowing that Madrid are more than capable of winning wherever they play.
The second leg will take place back in Manchester on March 5th.