David de Gea keeps Manchester United in the game against Real!

14/02/2013 no comments »
David de Gea keeps Manchester United in the game against Real!

Last night football fans across the globe had the chance to see two of the biggest clubs in world football go head to head as current Spanish champions Real Madrid were hosts to the iconic Manchester United in the last 32 round of the Champions League.

There was undoubtedly a lot of pre match hype prior to the kick off about the romance of the fixture but also not just around the teams but the two managers in charge. Both managers have a case of being the greatest ever, with Sir Alex Fergusons 26 year contribution to Manchester United, transforming them into the most successful team in England as they are well on their way to winning a 20th League title this season. Madrid coach Mourinho on the other hand has had a much shorter spell in management than Ferguson but has been equally effective. The first time the two managers clashed came in the Champions League and was when a young Jose was in charge of his first club FC Porto and gained recognition when he seemingly became the first manager to out-whit the mind game master Alex Ferguson. Porto knocked out Manchester United on that occasion and went on to win the competition against all odds. Since then Mourinho has went on to manage in England, Italy and now Spain, winning league titles in every country he has managed in, becoming the first manager to win top division titles in four different countries – including a second champions league with Inter Milan and numerous domestic trophies.

However, as expected a lot of the pre-match talk was centred about one other man. Cristiano Ronaldo. The global icon is unquestionably one of the best two footballers in the modern game and scoring 183 goals in just 180 games since moving to Real Madrid. The match would see Ronaldo come up against Manchester United for the first time since leaving them for Real in what remains world record transfer fee of £80 million.

The traditional Champions League theme rang out in a packed Bernabeu as the teams lined up – missing from the line ups was the captain of either side due to injuries, Real Madrids ever present goalkeeper Iker Casillas was ruled out as too was Manchester Uniteds centre half Nemanja Vidic. As the game kicked off all the pressure came from the home team as Real pressed forward to try and take an early lead. And they nearly did with just five minutes through a Portuguese winger, but not the one you would expect. It was actually Fabio Coentrao who cut in from the left to hid a side footed shot heading straight to the opposite corner requiring United keeper De Gea to pull off an outstanding finger tipped save on to the post. Madrid kept knocking on De Gea’s door with Ronaldo making an enthusiastic start and was clearly eager to make an impression on his former club.

United however managed to weather the storm – so much so that they took a shock lead. With 20 minutes on the clock United were awarded a controversial corner after the referee thought that Real defender Sergio Ramos had the last touch – although replays showed otherwise. United ceased on this limited opportunity to full effect as the resulting out-swinging corner was met by the head of Danny Welbeck past the stand in Real goalkeeper to score a crucial away goal and sending the Manchester fans into raptures.

Madrid were sharp in their response straight from the kick off as they went seeking to equalise – and that they did. The lead was short lived as just ten minutes later Madrid replied with a header of their own. It was always only going to be one man – Cristiano Ronaldo. A pin point left footed cross found the head of Ronaldo and flew straight in to the corner giving De Gea no chance to level the scores at 1-1 with just 30 minutes gone. That was it for the first half goalscoring although surprisingly the best chance just before half time fell again to Danny Welbeck as he broke free and escaped the off-side flag when he flicked the ball off the Madrid goalkeeper with the ball just rolling past the wrong side of the post.

The second half got under way and turned out almost to be a battle of the midfield. Phil Jones for United attemting to break down every possible Real attack and Xabi Alonso for Madrid who was spraying pin point 40 yard passes all across the pitch to switch play and create potential attacks. The first real chance of the half came once again from the full back Coentrao as he managed to get on the end of Khedira’s right wing cross which left a scrambling De Gea to make an un-orthodox save with his foot.

De Gea was then called in to action on many occasions but the Madrid born keeper managed to keep Real at bay keeping the scoring down to 1-1. It was United who had the best chance of the half as the ball fell kindly for top goal scorer Robin Van Persie. Despite looking offside the flag stayed down and the ball bounced over the Madrid defence creating a one on one opportunity to win the game. As it was teed up for a trademark left footed volley, the resulting shot summed up the Dutch strikers overall performance, disappointing. Van Persie scuffed the shot wide and the ball went out of play leaving the match to finish 1-1. Although United couldn’t snatch a late winner they did leave the Bernabeu with an away goal advantage leaving it all to play for when the two sides meet again in a fortnight’s time at Old Trafford.

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