Real Madrid, for the first time in 13 years, were forced to a home draw by an English team as the Spanish giants could only manage a 1-1 draw with visiting Manchester United in Wednesday’s crunch UEFA Champions League fixture at the Bernebau.
The highly anticipated clash involving two of the best managers in world football- Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson- lived to its billing as both teams put a commendable display on the night thereby setting the stage for a classic return leg at the Old Trafford in three weeks time.
While many had predicted Dutch striker, Robin Van Persie, to lead the hunt for goals by United, it was the young England international, Danny Welbeck, that got the day’s opener in the 20th minute.
The goal came from a left-wing corner after a rare United attack. It was swung in beautifully by Rooney, and Welbeck – whose starting position was almost on the goalline – backed away from his marker, Sergio Ramos, to flick a neat header into the far corner from six yards against the run of play.
Madrid, fully aware the La Liga title is as good as out of their hands, continued piling the pressure on United; and ten minutes later they levelled up from a Cristiano Ronaldo masterpiece.
Di Maria dumped over a good, out swinging cross from the left, and Ronaldo on the penalty spot rose majestically above Evra, hung in the air for an age and planted a wonderful header that swerved and dipped into the bottom-right corner.
Both teams had fair chances of increasing the tally, Ryan Giggs, Van Persie and the rest of the United gang tried to steal a famous victory from Spain but to no avail. The heroics of United goalkeeper, David De Gea, was on the night so phenomenal denying the likes of Ronaldo adding to his tally and his other strike partners registering a goal.
With the stalemate in Spain, the die is cast for a thrilling second leg at the theatre of dreams where the ticket for a quarter final slot remains open to both teams.
Meanwhile the other game between Shaktar Donesk and Borussia Dortmund also ended in a 2-2 draw in Ukraine. The second leg will also be played in three weeks time.