|Real Madrid will play for passage in Manchester|
A great match in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Real Madrid and Manchester United played each other in the stand out tie of the Champions League round of 16 and the match did not disappoint anyone. It was a delight to watch because of the style of play, levels of performance and entertainment value. Neither team went out on to the field to leave anything to chance. Even less the home team, who after five minutes of play had already had three shots and found the post with the last one. Khedira in the 2nd minute and Di Maria in the 4th were the players that had the first two scoring chances while Coentrao had the most noteworthy. A Cristiano Ronaldo cross that Ferdinand cleared before the Whites’ left back hit the ball with his right foot. De Gea’s finger-tip save and the post prevented the first goal of the match but not the home crowds’ roars of support, which reached boiling point and gave even further encouragement to their team.
Manchester United were not interested in lots of ball possession and tried to surprise on the counter-attack using the speed of their players higher up the field. It was no wonder, therefore, that when they were to go ahead that it came from a set piece. A corner taken by Rooney and headed in by Welbeck in the 20th minute. The Red Devils went ahead with their first shot on goal, which came from a corner that should not have been given as it was Kagawa who touched the ball last before it went out of play.
They had to come from behind but Real Madrid could teach lessons on how to overcome adverse situations. History has shown that and it is even more evident with the invaluable help of the Santiago Bernabeu faithful. Di Maria had an attempt from the edge of the box in the 23rd minute and Cristiano Ronaldo’s volley, five minutes later, went just a few inches over the visitors’ goal. They were the best build up to the equaliser, which was created by these two players in the 30th minute. A weighted cross from the Argentine and spectacular header from the Portuguese, who timed his leap to perfection in a moment that was reminiscent of the goal that gave his team the last cup title against Barcelona. 1-1 and more than 60 minutes to go. The home team had three more chances before halftime. De Gea cleared Ozil's volley in the 38th minute and the last two, both from Cristiano Ronaldo, did not end up in the back of the net by very little. A draw at the end of the first half, although the Whites deserved more. In fact, they had 15 shots, seven of them on target.
The second half began as the first half ended: with Real Madrid with most of the ball. In the first fifteen minutes the home team could have scored with any of three clear chances. Cristiano Ronaldo, in the 48th minute, on the half turn and Di Maria, twice, were the players who had them. Mourinho decided to replace Benzema with Higuain and the Argentine coming on coincided with the most dangerous moment in the second half up until then. A threaded pass from Khedira and an acrobatic shot from Coentrao in the 61st minute. De Gea, who had a great match, once again saved his team.
Manchester, the Premier League’s distant leaders, did not crumple and also found the woodwork, as had happened to Real Madrid in the first half. Van Persie had the shot in the 70th minute and Diego Lopez tipped the ball onto the crossbar. In the following passage of play, and after another shot from the Dutchman, Xabi Alonso stopped the ball on the line. Modric strengthened the midfield in the 75th minute and from that point on there was only one team on the pitch. That was Real Madrid and they forced De Gea to shine again from Khedira's volley in the 79th minute. The Whites, who had 28 shots, 14 of which on were target, deserved more. It will all be decided at Old Trafford.
Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Goals: 0-1, m.20: Welbeck. 1-1, m.29: Cristiano Ronaldo