United earn draw in Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo scored but Manchester United will be the happier after a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie at the Bernabeu on Wednesday evening.

Last Updated: 15/02/13 at 06:27 Post Comment

Danny Welbeck: Opened the scoring for Manchester United

Danny Welbeck: Opened the scoring for Manchester United

Danny Welbeck opened the scoring and, although Ronaldo netted a first-half equaliser, that is how it stayed to set up a fascinating second leg.

Real began the brighter and there was a warning for Sir Alex Ferguson's side when David De Gea tipped a Fabio Coentrao effort onto the far post early on.

But it was United who opened the scoring on 20 minutes after Shinji Kagawa was a little fortunate to be awarded a corner following a challenge with Sergio Ramos.

Wayne Rooney swung the subsequent set-piece in from the left and Welbeck did well to pull back from the goal-line before nodding expertly past Diego Lopez.

That left the Bernabeu stunned but, just as the visitors were growing in confidence, there was a riposte from a familiar figure on the half-hour mark.

Angel Di Maria's delivery from the left was met by Ronaldo, who seemed to hang in the air before expertly heading past De Gea.

Real twice went close after the interval through Di Maria before Raphael Varane got the benefit of the doubt for a challenge on Patrice Evra when the United skipper looked to be clean through on goal.

Jose Mourinho's side continued to dominate the ball and De Gea saved well with his feet from Coentrao on the hour mark.

But United remained a threat on the break and Van Persie had a double chance to put his team in front only to see his first shot hit the woodwork and the second cleared off the line by Xabi Alonso.

Despite heavy pressure from the home side, it was Van Persie who forced the final chance of the game as his left-footed effort was saved well by Lopez in injury time.

But a series of conservative substitutions from both managers helped ensure there would be no winner on the night and it sets up an intriguing second leg at Old Trafford in three weeks' time.

"There were a lot of incidents in the match," Sir Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. "Chances at both ends. David de Gea has made three or four fantastic saves but we have missed some good chances ourselves.

"In all we've created a lot of chances in the match and [played] some good attacking football at times but not had the possession we should have had. I think they won the possession without question.

"But they're at home, it's a difficult place to come to and we're pleased with a result that takes us back to Old Trafford with a great chance."

Jose Mourinho also believes the tie is wide open and said: "It was not a surprise the match or the result. I think it was basically what I was waiting for which was everything open, very open for the second leg. I think this will go to the last minute.

"If you ask me the percentage, I don't change one single number, it's 50/50. We can score more than one goal there."


Real MadridTeam StatisticsManchester United
1Goals1
11st Half Goals1
8Shots on Target6
11Shots off Target3
9Blocked Shots4
12Corners9
14Fouls12
0Offsides3
0Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
86.4Passing Success72.9
21Tackles24
66.7Tackles Success83.3
60.7Possession39.3
66.8Territorial Advantage33.2
479Total Passes306
40Total Crosses18
149Lost Balls165
54Recoveries57
55.51st Half Poss.44.5
65.12nd Half Poss.34.9

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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