LONDON – Manchester United’s Champions League ambitions ended in a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid amid controversial circumstances that left manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his players enraged at Old Trafford this evening.
United looked on course for a place in the quarter-finals at Real Madrid’s expense after Sergio Ramos’s own goal just after half-time gave them a platform to build on the 1-1 draw from the first leg at the Bernabeu.The tie was transformed by Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir’s decision to send off Nani for an aerial challenge on Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa after 56 minutes – a red card that reduced Ferguson and his players to fury
Jose Mourinho’s side, a subdued force until then, took advantage ruthlessly with two goals in three minutes from ex-Tottenham midfield man Luka Modric and former United golden boy Cristiano Ronaldo to move into the last eight.
United responded superbly with a typical late rally that brought a series of fine saves from Real keeper Diego Lopez, but events midway through a dramatic second half settled the destiny of an enthralling game
Ferguson’s body language after Nani’s dismissal screamed anger and injustice and he had good reason to feel United could well have been taking their place in the latter stages until the referee’s intervention. (BBC)††