Manchester United v Real Madrid | Live text commentary
It’s the game that Jose Mourinho believes the world will stop to watch. Two giants of English football come head-to-head and battle for a place in the Champions League Quarter-finals. Manchester United take on Real Madrid at Old Trafford in a match people believe deserves to be the final.
It has more underlying stories than your average Coronation Street murder plot. Tonight is the return of Cristiano Ronaldo. The £80 million Real Madrid signing spent six seasons at United where he scored 118 goals, won three Premier Leagues, an FA Cup and the Champions League. It is also Ryan Giggs’ 1000th game in professional football and you can check out 39 mind-blowing stats about the midfielder here.
If you need even more spice to the fixture two of the most successful managers come face-to-face as Jose Mourinho takes on Sir Alex Ferguson. Throw in the fact that United are on the treble realistically for the first time since that incredible 1998/99 season and it is simply the biggest game we’ve had all season.
Forget the Sky Sports hype that’s reeled out even if Stoke are taking on Fulham at home, this match is seriously massive.
Full-time: Manchester United 1-2 Real Madrid. United robbed? The red card changed the game but Real Madrid were certainly still in it when Nani was dismissed. Who knows what would have happened if the ref had pulled out a yellow but it’s a decision that has enraged United fans. Good luck getting out of Manchester Mr Cuneyt Cakr!
8.34pm: Rela Madrid have a corner with two minutes to play and they are in no hurry.
8.33pm: Diego Lopez is having a blinder. The stand-in keeper does incredibly to palm away a powerful Vidic header from an RVP corner.
8.31pm: Five minutes of Fergie Time to be played at OT.
8.30pm: Kaka thumps a shot against the post and it almost squirms over the line. De Gea keeps it out but I doubt it will make much difference.
8.30pm: Antonia Valencia is on for Rafael. Last-chance saloon for United.
9.28pm: Pepe has got booked. Bears shit in woods.
9.24pm: Diego Lopez pulls off a point blank save to deny Carrick and then comes sliding out to block a Robin van Persie effort. The ball bobbles to Rooney eventually who sends a volley over the bar. Two important saves from Diego Lopez and there are just five minutes to go. United need plenty of ‘Fergie time’ tonight.
9.21pm: Danny Welbeck’s shot is blocked and then he makes way for Ashley Young. He’s played well again today Welbeck and worked the flanks tirelessly over both legs.
9.18pm: United are now a massive 20/1 to qualify for the next round. They have 15 minutes to find two goals.
9.15pm: Time to unleash the beast! Rooney is on for Cleverley. What can he do to change things for United?
9.13pm: That goal is also terrible news for Paddy who is refunding all first goalscorer, last goalscorer, scorecast and correct score bets because Ronaldo scored at any time.
9.10pm: GOAL! Madrid lead and it is Cristiano Ronaldo! Higuain’s cross/shot is drilled across goal and Ronaldo is flying in at the back stick to poke it home. He doesn’t celebrate but that might end United’s European dream. They need two goals and they’re down to 10 men.
9.08pm: GOAL! Equaliser for Madrid! Modric equalises with a fantastic hit. He thumps a right-footed drive from 20-odd yards that spins and dips past De Gea and in off the post. It is a stunning drive from the former Spurs man.
9.07pm: 1,000 games and still going strong. Giggs is having a great game and now he is urging the crowd to get behind their team. United are camped in their own box and this will be a horribly long 25 minutes for the home side.
9.05pm: There is a brilliant clip of Mourinho muttering something to Ferguson behind his hand. By Fergie’s reaction it appears The Special One agrees the sending off was wrong as well. RVP tests Diego Lopez on a rare United attack but the keeper has everything behind it.
9.03pm: Incredible last ditch defending from Rafael and United are pinned back. On the replay it looks like Rafael stops that with his hand after it came of Sergio Ramos’ head but nobody sees it. There is no chance it is deliberate.
9.01pm: Here’s a brief reaction to that Nani sending off…
Never a red card.
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) March 5, 2013
Red card for that is a joke!
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) March 5, 2013
Breathtakingly bad decision from the ref #Nani
— Adrian Durham (@talkSPORTDrive) March 5, 2013
9.00pm: Ferguson is urging the crowd to make some noise and Old Trafford responds. The place is buzzing. Arbeloa comes off for Gail Platt AKA Luka Modric.
8.58pm: RED CARD! Nani is sent off! That is madness from the referee and United and Sir Alex Ferguson are livid. Nani and Arbeloa go for a ball and Nani only has eyes for the ball although his foot is high. It’s a yellow probably for dangerous play but probably shouldn’t have been any more. United have more than half an hour to hold on.
8.56pm: Danger for United. Higuain defines the corridor of uncertainty with a brilliant cross that flashes across the face of goal about five yards out. Nobody is gambling on it though and it goes out of play harmlessly.
8.55pm: Madrid are now 2/1 to qualify with United at 1/3 to put their name in the quarter-final draw.
8.52pm: Not a lot changes to be honest as Real Madrid still need to score to stay in the competition. An equaliser could potentially take us into extra time which isn’t ideal because a) I’ve backed 3-1 and b) I’d have to stay in work longer!
8.48pm: GOAL! Sergio Ramos own goal and United lead! Rafael does really well and finds Danny Welbeck driving into space. His attempt is snuffed out but Nani does really well to get it back and his low driven cross is knocked into his own net by Ramos. Huge goal.
8.46pm: Fergie says the balance is right and the concentration is good. The second half gets going and if United can keep Real Madrid out for another 45 minutes they go through.
8.42pm: Right then, cup of tea made, Adrian Chiles on mute and the latest odds are in. United are the favourites to qualify at 4/6 with Madrid at 10/11. Ronaldo is favourite to score next though at 7/2 with RVP at 9/2 and Higuain 15/2.
8.31pm: Half-time – Man united 0-0 Real Madrid. The plan is working for Sir Alex Ferguson. Ronaldo has been kept quiet, Vidic has hit the post and as it stands, United go through.
8.30pm: One minute of added time to be played and Mourinho is trudging down the tunnel early. ‘The Special One’ doesn’t look impressed!
8.26pm: Di Maria looks like he has a problem with his hammy and some fella called Kaka is coming on. Anyone remember him? Former World Player of the Year apparently!
8.25pm: Over in Germany, Dortmund are beating Shalke 2-0 and it is 4-2 to the German champs on aggregate.
8.23pm: Rafael goes down in the box appealing for a penalty but those kind of amateur dramatics wouldn’t even get you a spot as an extra on Hollyoaks. Ex-Liverpool player Arbeloa goes into the book for cropping Patrice Evra much to the delight of Old Trafford.
8.20pm: Lopez parries a stinging shot from van Persie but does well to get Welbeck’s rebound up and over the bar. From the corner Vidic takes a mighty punch to the face but in typical fashion brushes it off quite quickly. If Amir Kahn had been hit like that you wouldn’t see him for another ten months. Vidic is rock-hard.
8.19pm: GOAL DISALLOWED! Higuain pokes the ball past De Gea but Sergio Ramos fouled RVP in the build-up according to the ref. Fergie makes sure he gets the expensive wine in tonight.
8.17pm: De Gea comes out and does enough to stop Higuain who latches on to a through ball. Madrid have a couple of corners in quick succession.
8.14pm: Paddy Power is shaking in the corner of his office in the dark. Ronaldo bursts in to the box but is denied by a block from Vidic. It was heart-in-mouth time for the boss there who seems to have aged 15 years in the last half an hour.
8.11pm: Van Persie pulls the ball out of the sky, swivels and plays it to Danny Welbeck who sees his drive blocked by Sergio Ramos. From the corner van Persie attempts a scissor-kick but doesn’t get near it. United definitely look the more like scoring.
8.08pm: Welbeck was offside but there was no flag. It would have counted.
8.06pm: How has that not gone in? Vidic rises highest and powers a header against the post with Diego Lopez stranded. the ball ricochets off Danny Welbeck and into Lopez’s grateful arms. Unlucky for United.
8.04pm: YELLOW CARD! Patrice Evra goes into the book for a perfectly executed rugby tackle on Di Maria. Pat new full well he was never going to win that foot-race so did a really nice job of dragging the Madrid player down and picking up a booking. It might be a tough 70 minutes for the Frenchman.
8.03pm: It is a huge game for Nani today. the winger is 14/1 to open the scoring. He is looking lively down the left and has won United another corner.
8.00pm: United coming into this big time! Ryan Giggs picks out van Persie who who sees his left foot cross-come-shot bundled behind by Sergio Ramos. The home side have settled down after a shaky opening ten minutes.
7.59pm: Welbeck and Nani combine well down the left and win a corner for United. Old Trafford roars as Vidic and Ferdinand trot forward. They then colectively groan equally as loud as the corner comes to absolutely nothing.
7.57pm: Higuain has the first sight of goal but his shot isn’t troubling David De Gea.
7.55pm: Tom Cleverley goes down holding his ankle after Ronaldo over-ran the ball slightly. It looks painful but there’s nothing malicious in it and Cleverley is up and hobbling.
7.54pm: Van Persie clears easily but United are yet to get their foot on the ball. Real Madrid are looking very sharp early doors.
7.52pm: Madrid have started the better at old Trafford and they win the first corner of the game in front of the Stretford End.
7.50pm: Ronaldo has a free-kick and Paddy is worried… He doesn’t need to be though because it smashes into the wall. The shareholders at PP can relax again. For a few minutes at least.
7.47pm: We’re off and underway. Ronaldo is getting booed by the Old Trafford faithful and it looks like Ryan Giggs is the man who is being asked to help Rafael out on this right-hand side.
7.45pm: The worst sound in world football, ‘Your co-commentator is Andy Townsend’.
7.42pm: Even Gareth Southgate’s dreary tones can’t ruin the excitement tonight. The players are on their way out and Ronaldo is looking as well-preened as ever. Lee Dixon has said someone needs to snap him early. Good honest defending that Lee.
7.39pm: Paddy Power is pacing the office shaking and muttering something about ‘Ronaldo’ and ‘going bust’. Judging by his pale complexion and the amount of sweat seeping through his shirt he is pretty worried about the huge Money-Back Special!
Money-Back if Ronaldo scores at ANYTIME!
7.34pm: Spanish football guru Graham Hunter thinks Real Madrid are going to go through on penalties tonight. Here’s why…
7.33pm: Latest Rooney news: Wazza is 3/1 to not be at United on the first day of the 2013/14 season!
7.28pm: Will United qualify? Is Rooney on his way in the summer? Can Adrian Chiles get any more annoying? Only time will tell!
7.24pm: The Paddy Power Blog’s very own Aidan Elder has been looking at where punters have been putting their pennies and the results are pretty interesting. No money heading for the draw according to Paddy Power folk but Van Persie likely to score!
7.19pm: Time to put your money where your mouth is and/or show off the size of your manhood to the lads. United are 2/1 to win, Madrid are 11/8 and the draw is 12/5. Jose Mourinho’s team are favourites to qualify at 4/6.
7.16pm: Ferguson is making powerful enemies with that Rooney call…
7.00pm: Wayne Rooney misses out and there is uproar on Twitter. Apparently hundreds of thousands of people on there are more qualified to make the call than Sir Alex Ferguson. Supposedly.
6.58pm: Full team news is here. Wayne, if you’re reading this, look away now!
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley; Nani, Welbeck, Giggs; Van Persie
Real Madrid: Lopez, Arbeloa, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao, Alonso, Khedira, Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo, Higuain
6.50pm: Team news is in and Wayne Rooney is on the bench! Cue panic and pandemonium on Twitter and in pubs up and down the country.