With the dust now settled on Man Utd’s disappointing defeat at Old Trafford to Real Madrid, with the killer goal scored by former United star Cristiano Ronaldo, some fans will still be smarting from the defeat.
Ahead of the game, Sir Alex Ferguson had said that his side were better than the infamous Treble winning side of 1999, but the Turkish referee who showed Nani a red card for a reckless challenge on Arbeloa and Ronaldo and co showed little respect for that claim, or the quality of the side by unceremoniously knocking the side out of the competition.
But it shouldn’t have been that way, and even with the red card United could well have gone on to beat Mourinho’s Madrid.
Here, we look at five reasons United deserved to win.
5. Tactical Dominance
Up until Nani’s dismissal, Manchester United had dominated the tie – in both legs. For 90 minutes in the Santiago Bernabeu, United set up perfectly on the counter attack and despite the attacking talent in Madrid, they couldn’t break them down. The same thing happened at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo was once again kept quiet and United, despite being at home, set up with a strict defensive line that Madrid just couldn’t pick holes in – that is, until Nani got sent off.
For 160 minutes, United were firmly on top in the tie but it was those critical 20 minutes after the red card when Madrid pounced and won the tie. It was a devastating loss to swallow given how dominant Sir Alex’s side had been but, as they say, that is football.
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This article was first posted on March 11, 2013