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  • Date:05 Mar 2013
  • Kick-off:19:45
  • Venue:

Live Commentary


United had looked more threatening up until the Nani sending off and Real were beginning to look a little ragged. It was near-on impossible for the ten men of United to survive against the wealth of attacking talent Real possess. Such a shame all the focus is on the official.


Ronaldo is looking threatening, he tries to deceive De Gea by shooting when it looked like he would cross. Decent save.


Ramos missed the ball as Young goes down in the area and that could easily have been a penalty.


Another incredible save from Lopez! Vidic bullets a header on goal from a corner and the keeper flies across to parry clear.


De Gea denies Ronaldo with a good low save and United come again....


Five added minutes.....


Kaka almost scores as his cross flicks off Vidic, then RVP bumps into Diego Lopez as a long ball comes over the top. The keeper gets up, throws the ball out of play, then collapses. That is embarrassing.


Ronaldo very nearly grabs another, cutting inside and getting a shot off. De Gea anticipates well.


A valiant rearguard action from United - both of those chances were of the golden variety.


Real happy to sit deeper now and repel United. Gaps evident at the back.


More changes approaching for United.


If United can just grab one in the next ten minutes they can give themselves a sniff.


I think there is a genuine chance the Turkish referee will have to be escorted off the field by the police at the end of this game. Ferguson looks absolutely livid.


Its like the air has been sucked out of Old Trafford. They know this is now an almost impossible cause and they know a referee has altered this game definitively.


Two goals needed without reply from ten men with 20 minutes remaining. A tough ask.


Higuain fires in a low cross, Ronaldo slides in at the back post and finishes with a lunging boot. No celebration, almost an apology. This game has turned around completely.


A thumper from Modric as he works space outside the area past Carrick. A fantastic hit that clips the inside of the post and nestles in the opposite corner.


Modric fires a low cross in from a short corner and it somehow ricochets clear. Real simply have to score soon if they carry on like this. United have no out ball.


Superb from Rafael! He blocks off Varane as a corner fell loose in the box. Another corner, this time cleared by Vidic.


Intense Real pressure now as United try to regroup.


What a ball in from Higuain. Right across the edge of the six-yard box in between keeper and defender but no green shirt attacked it. They should have done.


Still, Ronaldo struggles to find a way into the game.


A sustained period of pressure brings a goal as Rafael drives into the box, Welbeck controls and the ball goes to RVP, his shot is blocked and as Nani crosses low Ramos sticks out a leg and diverts it past Lopez.


Giggs does well to keep pace with Ronaldo as the winger gets down the left. He looks for Kaka but Vidic covers.


We begin again. The first half was intriguing, the second should be explosive....


A lull in proceedings. Kaka still not on.


Di Maria heads straight down the tunnel and Kaka is readying himself.


A vital tackle from Varane as Giggs finds Welbeck. He was the last man. Giggs made his united debut before Varane was born.


Dortmund have taken the lead in Germany against Shakhtar, a Santana header from a corner. 3-2 on aggregate to the Germans.


Now at the other end an Arbeloa cross is taken well by Higuain and Carrick blocks his low cross out for a corner. Ronaldo was lurking.


Very nearly a sublime ball into RVP from Cleverley but Ramos read it well.


Di Maria wins a corner as he finds space on the left - Rafael comes across to block.


A chance for Ronaldo as he is found over the top - perhaps he should have taken the ball first time, he chose to control and his shot was blocked.


A rare touch for Alonso as Welbeck tracks him all over the field when Real have the ball.


Neat feet from Coentrao and a handy dive to win a free kick from Cleverley.


Good from Welbeck as he races away, his shot is blocked by Ramos. Nice touch from RVP to set him away.


A poor ball from Arbeloa to Khedira, Evra shields it and is fouled for his trouble.


United are on top now after that slow start. Less possession but much more threat about them in the final third.


Superb work from Giggs who shields the ball from Coentrao, then tries to beat him, then wins a corner. Brilliant.


Lovely one-two between Welbeck and Nani as the Portuguese wins a corner.


Welbeck has definitely been told to drop onto Alonso, that means Khedira is getting far more of the ball.


That cross from Giggs was pretty sexy. Life begins at 39.


The corner comes to nothing as Cleverley wastes possession from the clearing header. Looks like his amateur dramatics were completely unnecessary.


First big chance of the game as Di Maria and Ozil work well to feed Higuain, who manages to fashion a shooting chance but fires wide of the post when he should have hit the target.


Cleverley goes down under a challenge from Ronaldo and signals to the bench straight away. No blame attached to Ronaldo. Cleverley is up and hobbling. Why do players do that?


As Real regroup Alonso fires the ball to Ozil unmarked at the back post but his half hearted attempt to keep the ball in was never going to work.


Ozil swings the ball wide left to Di Maria, who took his time to cross when he should have centred it sooner. Corner is the result, cleared at the near post by RVP.


Giggs upends Coentrao with a sliding tackle. Free kick left side of the area for Real.


It was an ironic boo - his name was greeted with stupendous noise as the teams were read out. Evra tries to look for Nani over the top but Lopez is out to collect.

Match Preview

So, here’s the thing. You’re the manager of a team that has to go to Old Trafford for the second leg of a tie, after only managing a 1-1 draw at home. You’ve got a plan of how to go about getting the required result. Now, if only there was a way to have a dress rehearsal against one of Europe’s top teams in their own backyard to see how your plan would work, that would be lucky. If you played that game and your plan worked like a charm, that would be brilliant! Some people say that it’s better to be a lucky manager than a brilliant one. Truth be told, it’s probably best to be both!

So when Jose Mourinho rocked up at the Camp Nou with his Real Madrid team looking to get a positive result from the Copa del Rey game, he could perhaps have been described as ‘lucky’ for having the bonus of a rehearsal for the Manchester United game. When the final whistle was blown, and los Blancos trotted back to their dressing room with a 1-3 victory tucked away, after a game in which the Blaugrana had been comprehensively outplayed, he could also have been described as ‘brilliant.’

Deploying his pacey duo of Ronaldo and Di Maria in the spaces vacated by Barca’s ‘full backs cum wingers’ Dani Alves and Jordi Alba, as they drove forward, reprised the tactical acumen of Di Matteo’s Chelsea when, in defeating Barca, he played Ramires in the same role to exploit Alves. This was however much more than looking for gaps and filling them. The supposedly suspect defence of Madrid was a solid match for all of Barca’s prompting and probing. Messi‘s possession was snuffed out at source, and orchestra leader Xavi was largely anonymous. Sure, the home fans at least had a goal to cheer, but by that time, the game was wrapped up and safely ensconced in Mourinho’s pocket.

It would of course be folly to say that Barca and Manchester United are the same. Their approach to the game is significantly different. That said, there are some significant similarities. Both teams will want to attack, despite the advantage of the away 1-1 draw. Both will dominate the possession stats. And most significantly perhaps, Mourinho gets under the skin of both clubs’ fans, meaning the crowds will be driving their teams forward.

With their rehearsal safely completed the Spanish champions will have no fear of Old Trafford, and Mourinho will not only have a plan, but will have filled his team with belief. This tie is a good way from over and if, as happened at the Camp Nou, Madrid score first, United will have it all to do to redeem themselves. I’ve just got this image in my mind of the ghost of ‘Christiano past’ haunting those that once lauded him and Mourinho proving that not only is he lucky enough to have Ronaldo in his team, he’s brilliant enough to use him to win the game.

Match Report

Ten-man Manchester United left Old Trafford seething with injustice as they crashed out of the Champions League with a controversial 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid.

A night that began with the shock of Wayne Rooney's omission, ended in bitter frustration and recrimination as Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo sent Madrid into the last eight. It was the controversial dismissal of Nani for a second-half foul on Alvaro Arbeloa that was the talking point. At the time, United were leading through Sergio Ramos' own-goal and 2-1 up in the tie.

The pivotal decision of Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir turned all those hopes to dust, left Rio Ferdinand applauding sarcastically after it was all over and Jose Mourinho celebrating, the former Chelsea boss offering a fuming Sir Alex Ferguson a consoling pat before heading down the tunnel before the final whistle.

Ferguson selected 39-year-old Ryan Giggs to shackle Ronaldo and the Welshman, playing his 1,000th senior game, did a magnificent job. Danny Welbeck wasted two openings to break the deadlock. The first came after Nemanja Vidic soared to meet Robin van Persie's corner, only for his thundering header to cannon back off a post, straight to Welbeck, who prodded the rebound straight at Diego Lopez.

Welbeck's second chance was also on the rebound, after Lopez had parried an instinctive effort from Van Persie. The England man should have made Lopez work. Instead he drove his shot into the ground, which allowed the visitors' keeper to save.

Real had even fewer sights of United's net. Gonzalo Higuain sent a decent chance wide in the opening stages but other than that, there was always a home defender in the way. The loss of Angel Di Maria just before the interval forced Mourinho into a tactical reshuffle which Real were still adjusting to when United struck.

Rafael's surge to the edge of the box had Real floundering and although Van Persie's shot was deflected away from goal, Nani had the awareness and strength to shrug Raphael Varane off it. Welbeck got the faintest of touches to the Portugal winger's cross but it was enough to ensure Ramos' was firm enough to send it rolling into the net.

It all looked to be going to so well. And then the roof caved in. When Nani challenged Arbeloa for a bouncing ball inside his own half, he seemed committed and nothing more. Cakir deemed it dangerous and after waiting until the winger recovered from a non-existent injury, out came the red card. Nani was incredulous. Ferguson went ballistic.

And with good reason. Repelling Real with 11 men had been tough, with 10 it was bordering on the impossible. Though they hung on grimly, with Rafael seeming to keep a goalbound Higuain header out with his arm, it took the visitors just 11 minutes to turn the entire tie on its head.

Modric struck first, with a viciously curling effort from 25 yards. Three minutes later Mesut Ozil found Higuain, whose cross was turned home at the far post by Ronaldo. The hopeless search for goals forced the 10-men down to the other end. Rooney, by now a potential saviour, had a chance which he lifted over the bar from six yards.