Real Madrid were knocked out in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League for the sixth season on the trot, this time by plucky Lyon, who drew 1-1 in the Bernabeu and rode their 1-0 first-leg win into the quarter-finals.
Manchester United also made no mistake in protecting their first-leg advantage, reaching their fourth successive Champions League quarter-final after trouncing Milan 4-0 at Old Trafford. It was the second consecutive night that an English club managed a heavy home victory in the competition after Arsenal thumped Porto 5-0 last night.
Manchester United 4-0 AC Milan (7-2 aggregate)
Goals: Wayne Rooney 13, 46, Ji-Sung Park 59, Darren Fletcher 88
Goal of the night
Real Madrid 1-1 Lyon (Pjanic 75)
With the tie even at a goal each, extra time seemed to loom on a nervy night in Madrid. But Lyon had the best of the second half, and OL got the goal they deserved with a finish worthy of the win. An Argentine connection set up the goal as Cesar Delgado played it in to Lisandro Lopez, who showed quick thinking to slide the ball into the path of Pjanic. The Bosnian took a quality touch on the left side of the box before blasting it past Iker Casillas in goal.
Eased nerves and missed chances: A goal behind after the first leg, Real Madrid came out quickly and established parity early on as Guti set up Ronaldo with a nice long ball over the top. The Portuguese winger hit his shot through the goalkeeper’s legs to open the scoring, but the nine-time European champions would rue a host of missed opportunities in the remainder of the half, which they controlled. Gonzalo Higuain missed the best of them in the 25th minute when he beat the offside trap and rounded Hugo Lloris but conspired to hit his shot off the inside of the post with the goal wide open. Higuain did better minutes later after being set up by Kaka, but his low shot from inside the box was pushed around the post by the diving Lloris.
One-man destruction: Wayne Rooney completed his dismantling of Milan with another brace against the Italians. The first was, like the two he scored in the first leg, put away with his head. Gary Neville was the supplier for the opener, but the second was set up by a cheeky cross from Nani, who led Rooney into the box with a ball from the left flank but with the outside of his right boot. The in-form striker made no mistake to claim his 30th goal in all competitions with a deft touch past the on-rushing Christian Abbiati. Quick, lethal and it essentially killed off the tie for the hosts.
Veterans into the fray: With Manchester United icon David Beckham surprisingly left on the bench by Milan coach Leonardo in his heralded return to Old Trafford, the home crowd got their wish in the 64th minute when the right winger was brought on alongside half-time substitute Clarence Seedorf to try to salvage the match. Beckham could not turn the tide, but the England international did hit the bar with a volley from the edge of the area in the 70th minute. In the other match, Real Madrid legend Raul was brought on with under a quarter of an hour to go for Kaka as Madrid tried to do some salvaging of their own. However, Spain’s all-time leading scorer could make no impact as the French side controlled the dying minutes with confidence.
FIFA World Cup™ contenders
Manchester United's hard-working midfield controlled the centre of the park against Milan, with Darren Fletcher and Park allowing the likes of Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo very little room right from the start. The dynamic duo even managed to claim second half goals as reward for all of their running.
One could not accuse Lyon of winning on a fluke as they created a host of chances of their own against a wobbly Madrid defence. France's Sidney Govou set up Jean II Makoun in the 34th minute, but the Cameroonian lost balance before he could pull the trigger, while Govou himself was wasteful in the 52nd minute from a chance created by Kim Kallstrom when blazed off target from 12 yards out. Lisandro forced the best from Casillas from long-range just after, but Spain’s net-minder was able to beat the ball away.
Round of 16 second leg - 16 March
Chelsea - Inter Milan (1-2)
Sevilla - CSKA Moscow (1-1)
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