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Red Devils boss remains defiant in the face of a clear penalty, pointing to his sides' supposed lack of favour at Stamford Bridge and the influence of match winner Wayne Rooney


Sir Alex Ferguson
has dismissed Chelsea's last minute penalty claims following Manchester United's narrow 1-0 victory over the London club in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie at Stamford Bridge.

United were in the driving seat for the first half of the game, with Wayne Rooney's precise finish capping off a deadly move, giving them a deserved lead.

After the break, Chelsea were more probing and were denied, what they felt, and the replays suggested, to be a stonewall penalty.

As Ramires burst through into the area in the 92nd minute, he appeared to be hauled down by Patrice Evra, with the Frenchman nowhere near the ball.

Despite serious protestations, the referee remained unconvinced and Manchester United held on to secure the victory.

Though the penalty appeal seemed clear-cut enough, Ferguson provided a contrasting viewpoint.

"To be honest with you, it looks as if the player made the most of it," he told ITV.

"If it was a penalty, it's the first decision we've had here in seven years, so I don't feel guilty.

"There’s plenty of talk irrespective of penalty claims and dives and I thought the players were great."

The voraciousness of the penalty claims aside, the game was settled by a moment of sheer quality by the much-maligned Rooney.

Involved in the build up were both Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs, before Rooney, roundly booed at every touch, added the finishing touch, coolly passing the ball in off the far post.

"Wayne was in tremendous form and has given us a really great opportunity to get to the semi-final," said Ferguson

"His work rate and desire to play was marvelous. He got a lot of abuse tonight and late tackles on him but he got up and played which shows the courage of the player.

"I think the whole team should take great credit."

Ferguson also explained his decision to start Park Ji-Sung on the left of midfield as opposed to Nani, a player that has impressed consistently this campaign.

He said: "We had to be clever in midfield and that’s why we used Ji-Sung Park he’s a fantastic player, tactically. He understands what our method was and we still had the energy to counter attack. 

With the return leg next week at Old Trafford, Manchester United sit on a narrow lead yet have secured a vital away goal.

"It’s halfway, we’ve got an advantage but the biggest advantage is Old Trafford and the support for next Tuesday will be absolutely fantastic, so I’m banking on that," concluded Ferguson.


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