Thursday, April 24, 2003

They knocked four goals past Real Madrid, but that wasn't enough for Manchester United to go through to the semifinals of the Champions League. In a glorious display of top class football, both sides should why they are among the best teams in Europe; but in the end it was left to the magical skills Ronaldo who scored a hattrick to dash United's hopes even though the match ended in a 4-3 victory for them. Real still qualifies on a 6-5 aggregate thanks to their convincing 3-1 win on the first leg.

Being a Liverpool supporter, I naturally rooted for Real Madrid to win. But even I must applaud the gritty display put up by the Red Devils last night. They were like a battering ram, throwing everything they've got at Real's defence. And Real, being Real, were at times casual about their defending and that resulted in an own goal and another from a Beckham freekick. But everytime they let in one, they put another into United's goal.

In the end, it was the exquisite skills and the experience of the Real Madrid team which made the difference and the 4-3 scoreline says it all. What a memorable night of European football it was - the kind of stuff that fans of the Champions League crave for. Now United has to focus on winning the League Championship or they will again end another season empty-handed.

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