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UEFA Champions League

  • 05 March 2013
  • • 21:45
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: C. Çakιr
  • • Attendance: 74959
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Real Madrid win Aggregate 3 - 2

Manchester United 1-2 Real Madrid (Agg 2-3): Ronaldo pounces decisively after Nani sees red

Manchester United 1-2 Real Madrid (Agg 2-3): Ronaldo pounces decisively after Nani sees red

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The Spanish giants score twice in three second half minutes through Luka Modric and the former Old Trafford favourite after a controversial Nani red card for a foul on Arbeloa

Cristiano Ronaldo came back to haunt 10-man Manchester United as Real Madrid booked their place in the Champions League quarter-final with a dramatic and controversial 2-1 victory at Old Trafford.

With the tie finely balanced at 1-1 following the first leg in Spain, United struck first through an own goal by Sergio Ramos early in the second half but the game turned on its head after Nani was sent-off in the 56th minute for a high boot in a challenge with Alvaro Arbeloa.

MAN UTD 1-2 REAL MADRID (AGG 2-3)
48' OWN GOAL! Ramos bundles in
56' RED CARD! Nani is sent off
66' GOAL! Modric makes it 1-1
69' GOAL! Ronaldo nets winner
MAN OF THE MATCH
DIEGO LOPEZ

Made a number of brilliant saves before and after Madrid had taken the lead. Didn't always exude confidence, spilling the odd shot or mistiming the occasional punch but prevented his side from conceding more than one goal and was unfortunate to see his own team-mate knock the ball past him. A brilliant, match-winning display.
Real Madrid used their man advantage and sealed the aggregate victory with two goals in three minutes. Substitute Luka Modric equalised with a stunning strike from 25 yards before Ronaldo slid in at the far post to break the hearts of supporters who gave him a hero's reception before kick-off.

The result completes a wonderful week for the Spanish giants following two wins over bitter rivals Barcelona and the visiting fans saluted coach Jose Mourinho as they target an historic 10th European crown.

Ronaldo had a relatively quiet game on his first return to Old Trafford since his £80m transfer in 2009 but the script was always written for the Portuguese forward to have the final say.

He may not have done so were it not for referee Cuneyt Cakir, who infuriated United with his decision to show a red card to Nani. The United winger appeared to be challenging for the ball and certainly meant no harm to Arbeloa, but the consequence of his dismissal was that the home side's gameplan, which had worked so well to that point, was ruined.

Sir Alex Ferguson made a hugely bold decision of only naming Wayne Rooney as a substitute for United, with Ryan Giggs making his 1000th career appearance in central midfield in the absence of Phil Jones with an ankle injury. Nemanja Vidic returned at centre-back in place of Jonny Evans after the United captain missed the first leg.

There were no such surprises in the Real Madrid line-up, with Gonzalo Higuain selected ahead of Karim Benzema to lead the attack as Jose Mourinho returned to his first choice starting XI having rested a number of players in the 2-1 win over Barcelona on Saturday.

Mourinho claimed this clash between two of the biggest clubs in the Europe would "stop the world" and stars past and present were in attendance at Old Trafford for this showpiece occasion, from Diego Maradona to Gareth Bale.

Ferguson called on the crowd to "turn up the volume" in his pre-match programme notes and Old Trafford was a cauldron of noise at the teams made their way out of the tunnel at the Stretford End,  with the home fans unveiling a mosaic in support of their team.

As the team line-ups were read out, Ronaldo's name was greeted with an enormous roar from all sides of the stadium, the former United man looking choked as he patted his chest and raised an arm to acknowledge the reception.

Ferguson predicted an attacking game but set out to stifle Real and counter-attack, with his plan working almost perfectly in the first half as they restricted the visitors and came closest to opening the scoring.

United captain Vidic thought he had scored in the 21st minute but his thumping header from Giggs’ corner rattled against the post before Danny Welbeck, admittedly in an offside position, mishit the rebound straight at Real goalkeeper Diego Lopez.

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In the 34th minute, Lopez was again forced in to action as he made a hash of his attempt to save Robin van Persie’s shot from a tight angle and had to react quickly to deflect Welbeck’s rebound over the crossbar with his shoulder.

But the hosts had to wait less than three minutes after the break to take the lead.

After Madrid defenders blocked two United shots in the penalty area, the ball landed at Nani's feet on the left. The Portuguese winger played the ball into the box and, after the faintest touch off Welbeck, Ramos could only turn it into his own net.

The turning point, however, came in the 56th minute when Nani was shown a straight red card by Turkish referee Cakir for a high foot in a 50-50 challenge with Arbeloa. On first viewing, it looked a harsh decision and it certainly left Ferguson and the United players fuming with the officials.

Mourinho responded to the man advantage by bringing on Modric for Arbeloa and the former Tottenham midfielder levelled the score in the 66th minute. After picking the ball up 30 yards from goal, Modric breezed past Tom Cleverley and struck a thunderous effort in off the post from 25 yards.

Three minutes later, Real Madrid took the lead for the first time in the tie. Higuain fizzed a low cross along the six-yard box and Ronaldo used all of his predatory instincts to slide in at the far post and end United's European campaign.

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