Sky Sports billed this as the "perfect match"
It did not disappoint.
The teams could not be separated in the first 90 minutes, however how both teams only scored one goal each is beyond me. David de Gea had arguably his finest game for the club on his return to Madrid. He turned in a performance that I am sure will mean Florentino Perez will be sniffing after him sooner rather than later. United too had some fantastic opportunities to secure a famous victory. Alas, Robin Van Persie, who was fantastic in his build up play could not apply a fitting finish.
Within the opening minutes de Gea laid down a marker. Fabio Coentrao had time in the box and swung a right foot at it. The ball looked destined for the far corner with fantastic precision and good pace on the shot. Somehow de Gea managed to get a finger or two on it to flick it onto the post. As many good saves Dave did make tonight, that one would not be topped. Probably a finer effort than "the Juan Mata freekick".
United settled into the match fairly well after that. Kagawa was a threat in behind, running beyond RVP, who was walking on a tightrope having been booked for making contact with Sergio Ramos's face. The amount of times Ramos did go down, I would have loved to make contact with his face..... When he elbowed Evans on the back of the head.... Nothing....
United were in wonderland half way through the first period. A corner that arguably came off of Kagawa under the challenge of Ramos was swung in by Wayne Rooney. Danny Welbeck got up and nodded it in from within the six yard box having slipped his man which was.... Sergio Ramos. Perhaps he was suffering from concussion after the amount of face clutching. Poor thing.
United looked solid. Cristiano Ronaldo was ever a danger however. His pace is frightening and poor Rafael struggled down the right flank in the first half, although he improved in the second despite also receiving a caution. If it was not Ronaldo, it was Mesut Ozil, who was fantastic. Such a graceful player. However I am not going to be too hard on Rafael. He is young. And he is going up against Ronaldo who is a monster. As well as Rooney and Ozil, Di Maria was brilliant. So elegant on the ball. Can drift past players and had a couple of chances that flew by the post or was saved by de Gea.
Madrid was back on level terms with around ten minutes left to play in the first. The ball was shipped in wonderfully from the left. And guess who preyed on the small Patrice Evra. There really was not a lot he could do. Ronaldo's knee's was level with Evra's face he jumped so high. And the header was perfectly directed. An amazing goal from CR7. His celebration was muted against his former side.
Danny Welbeck almost grabbed an incredible brace. A cross came in and Welbeck stole in unmarked. Diego Lopez came out and perhaps put him off. The England man could not quite get enough of a boot on the ball to poke it home. Was a shame because Danny was arguably our finest outfield player. Stretched the play no end. Such a willing runner. Tracked back and did the dirty work brilliantly too. His pace is so scary for defenders. Cannot wait until he sorts his co-ordination and finishing out. Some player we will have on our hands.
United were so solid in the second half. We invited pressure but defended so well. And oh my did we have some glorious chances at the other end.
A great third man running routine should have resulted in a sending off. Evra was sent through and was headed toward goal. Raphael Varane brought him down. A stone wall foul and a sending off because Ramos was a good three yards or so behind and about five yards to the side. The ref, pure and simple bottled it. It was an easy decision and he fluffed his lines. He was poor throughout to be honest. Not calling easy fouls. Calling fouls the wrong way. Booked players not deserving. Let others who were go... I will shut up now before I receive a touchline ban/fine...
RVP then had two glorious chances within about twenty seconds. The first he was through in the box. He took a shot from a fairly tight angle with his weaker foot that was tipped onto the bar well. He then timed his run perfectly and was through one on one. The ball came down from the sky and he swung his left foot at it first time. he beat the keeper but the contact was so poor that former Liverpool man Xabi Alonso thwarted him on the line.
de Gea then made United fans fall in love with him just a little more. A shot came in and he stopped it with an outstretched foot from about three foot off the ground. Brilliant instincts and reflexes.
CR7 then had a free kick. It looked for all the money to be headed goal wards. It instead rippled the top of the net. de Gea would have been powerless. Brilliant effort.
Ryan Giggs was brought on for Kagawa and could have had a chance had he shot first time. He was snuffed out after he delayed however.
And Robin Van Persie could have secured all three points but was denied by Lopez, down low to his left. That was the final chance and ended a wonderful hard fought match. I am so proud of our team. Worked so hard for each other and could have come away with a victory had things gone our way. Would have had even more of a chance if the ref was not a complete TOOL.
Phil Jones and Micheal Carrick done a great job in CM. Rooney worked so hard for his team. RVP was fantastic holding up play. Showed some delightful touches. Welbeck was brilliant and I am not surprised how he cramped up. Deserved his goal. Rio and Evans was bosses. de Gea.... I run out of words to describe him. Yes, he is flawed. But there is no other keeper in the world that can save some of the shots he can. No one. And he does it on such a regular basis too!
We do this all over again in three weeks. I cannot wait. And with an away goal, we have an brilliant chance to succeed, although Madrid and Ronaldo will remain dangerous on the break.