Alex Ferguson rarely seems to err when it comes to player transfers and, for the casual observer, tonight’s last 16 UEFA Champion’s League matches would seem to underline the Scot’s business acumen. Cristiano Ronaldo and his new teammates at Real Madrid were dumped from the tournament while Manchester United, through Wayne Rooney, were rampant in tearing AC Milan – along with another old boy, David Beckham – to reach the quarter finals with a 7-2 aggregate victory.
Real Madrid were held to a home 1-1 draw with Lyon which meant they lost 2-1 on aggregate, while United won 4-0 at home with a brace from Rooney, and a goal each from Park and Darren Fletcher.
Rooney would prove to be the difference between United and Milan this evening, as his goal on 20 minutes effectively killed the visiting team’s spirit and his second, within one minute of the interval put the final nail in the Italians’ chances. Both goals were taken well by the Liverpudlian, who is in the form of his life at the moment – tonight saw goals number 29 and 30 from the striker – and followed excellent assists from Gary Neville and Nani respectively.
Park Ji Sung was energetic as ever and fully deserved his goal, which was a well taken slot in the bottom left corner following fast passing into the Milan area.
Fletcher rounded off the result after David Beckham had threatened to upstage proceedings by coming on as a second half substitute by heading home from close range.
Much of the second half was spent with Manchester United fans continuing their protest against the club’s American ownership, such was the supremacy their men enjoyed in the match, and United, in this sort of form, must be serious contenders for this trophy, providing they can keep Wayne Rooney fit and scoring.
Arsenal staked their claim last night with a similarly impressive display against Porto: the Champions League may be heading to England once more on the evidence of this week’s matches. With Real Madrid crashing out, the draw is certainly opening up – managers as shrewd as Alex Ferguson will be quietly confident of more success in Europe for 2010.