The Champions League lowdown: Inter Milan v Manchester United

24 February 2009 07:30
Inter Milan v Manchester United (Tuesday, 7.45pm)

Past meetings Played 2, Man United wins 1, draws 1.

The pair met in the Champions League quarter-final in 1999. Now here was a tie - pure drama from start to finish. Dwight Yorke scored two goals in the first half of the first leg at Old Trafford to put Manchester United

in control, but Inter refused to lie down and only a brilliant second half save from Peter Schmeichel, and dramatic goal-line clearance from Henning Berg, preserved United's advantage.

The second leg on St Patrick's Day will also stay long in the memory. United held out until the 63rd minute, when Nicola Ventola put the hosts in front, but with just two minutes remaining Paul Scholes slotted home to put United into the semi-finals. They would go to on to beat another Italian giant Juventus in the semi-finals before their unforgettable late triumph against Bayern Munich in Barcelona to seal the Treble.

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Champions League lowdown: Real Madrid v Liverpool

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Paul Scholes celebrates United's crucial equaliser against Inter in the San Siro in 1999



ManagersJose Mourinho (Inter Milan)One of life's compelling characters - who knows how different football would have been had Mourinho's Porto not stunned United at Old Trafford with that late goal in 2004. The 'Special One' achieved great things at Chelsea for sure, with two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups to his name. What will still grate however is his failure to bring Europe's great prize to Stamford Bridge - with those two semi-final defeats against Liverpool a blot on his impressive copybook.

Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)What more can you say? A generation of triumphs and Fergie still has the desire and will to win for more. His record in Europe has been open to debate in the past, especially after United failed to build on their sensational 1999 win. But most of that has been put to bed now after that memorable night of drama in Moscow last May. Fergie danced in the rain in the early hours as United made sure they would make their own perfect tribute on the 50th anniversary of the Munich air crash.

European showdown: Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan take on Sir Alex Ferguson's European champions Manchester United

Key battlesAdriano v Rio Ferdinand

If Adriano displays the same form he showed in the recent derby clash with AC Milan, United could well be in for an awkward night in the San Siro. But if there is one man who any United supporter can be confident will deal with the Brazilian it's Rio Ferdinand, who has again been a rock in central defence this season.

Adriano

Rio Ferdinand

Esteban Cambiasso v Michael Carrick

Inter's Argentine midfielder might not be in the same outstanding form he was showing three of four years back, but he still has the qualities to shine and Carrick, one of United's unsung stars of the season, will need to be at his recent best again for the European champions.

Cristian Chivu v Wayne Rooney

The versatile Romanian international Chivu is a key member of Inter's defence, although the Italian champions will be hoping their emphasis is firmly on attack in the first game. Rooney has come back with a bang since injury, scoring against Fulham and Blackburn in the last week for United.

Current formInter have in fine form in Serie A since the New Year, and their derby victory over AC Milan has put them in control of the title race. They didn't impress in the Champions League group stages however, finishing second behind Panathinaikos.

United were half-baked for much of the first half of the season (largely a hangover from last term) but since their triumphant visit to Japan for the Club World Cup they have strung together a host of victories in all competitions, which has led some pundits to talk of an almost impossible quintuple. United weren't always at their best in the group stages of this competition, but still finished top above Villarreal, Aalborg and Celtic.

European Cup winsInter 2, United 3

 Champions League lowdown: Arsenal v Roma

Champions League lowdown: Real Madrid v Liverpool

Champions League lowdown: Chelsea v Juventus

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Source: Daily_Mail