Ronaldo Knocks 10-Man Manchester United Out of Champions LeagueBob Bensch
Real Madrid beat 10-man Manchester United 2-1 to advance to the Champions League soccer quarterfinals as Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal knocked out his former team after Nani was shown a red card.
Ronaldo’s 69th-minute strike gave Madrid a 3-2 victory over two matches after Luka Modric had tied last night’s game in Manchester following Nani’s 56th-minute sending off for a high tackle on Alvaro Arbeloa. The home team had gone ahead on Sergio Ramos’s own goal early in the second half.
“We’re extremely disappointed,” United assistant coach Mike Phelan said as he stood in for manager Alex Ferguson in the post-game news conference. “Everybody was sat in the dressing room there wondering what had happened and why it happened. It’s a very distraught dressing room and a very distraught manager. That’s why I’m sat here now.”
Madrid, seeking a record-extending 10th European Cup title, will be joined in the final eight of the continent’s top club competition by Borussia Dortmund, which beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 to complete a 5-2 victory. The quarterfinal draw is scheduled for March 15.
Two more spots will be filled tonight when Juventus takes a 3-0 lead into its home match against Celtic and Valencia tries to overturn a 2-1 deficit at Paris Saint-Germain.
Following a 1-1 draw in Spain last month, Manchester United went ahead in the two-match series in the 48th minute as Nani’s cross from the left hit Danny Welbeck before Ramos deflected it past goalkeeper Diego Lopez.
The complexion of the game changed eight minutes later when referee Cuneyt Cakir of Turkey red-carded Nani for his challenge on Arbeloa as both contested the ball. The call drew the ire of Ferguson, who immediately charged to complain to the fourth official on the touchline.
“That amazing decision changed things totally,” Phelan said. “It is a disappointing one and it spoiled the game.”
Attacking midfielder Modric came on as a 59th-minute substitute for Arbeloa and tied the score seven minutes later by firing in a shot off the right post.
Ronaldo, playing his first game at Old Trafford since moving from United to Spain in 2009, then slid at the far post to knock in a cross from Gonzalo Higuain for his competition-leading eighth goal this season. The Portuguese forward also scored in the round-of-16 opener in Madrid.
“It was emotional in both games, especially tonight, it was unbelievable,” Ronaldo said in an interview with Sky Sports. “I helped my team and feel a little happy inside because Madrid goes through. But on the other hand I feel sad because it’s Manchester United.”
United players surrounded Cakir after the final whistle with defender Rio Ferdinand sarcastically applauding the referee, while Ferguson elected to skip his press conference.
“I don’t think the manager is in any fit state to talk to the referee about the decision,” Phelan said. “It speaks volumes that I’m sitting here. We all saw and witnessed a decision that seemed very harsh at that time in the game.”
Real’s victory, which follows back-to-back wins over archrival Barcelona in the Copa del Rey and Spanish league last week, sent the team into the Champions League quarterfinals for the third straight season.
“We’re in good shape and we want to carry on like that because we want to win this competition,” Ronaldo added.
It was Real’s fourth victory in five European Cup matchups between the teams, with the winner going on to capture the trophy three times. United, which leads England’s Premier League by 12 points, had reached the final in three of the past five seasons.
Dortmund, the 1997 winner, advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in 15 years as Felipe Santana, Mario Goetze and Jakub Blaszczykowski scored in the rout of Shakhtar.
Santana headed in Marco Reus’s corner kick in the 31st minute and Goetze made it 2-0 six minutes later. Blaszczykowski then closed the scoring in the 59th minute.
The two-time defending German champion remains unbeaten in this year’s competition, with five wins in eight matches in the group stage and round of 16.
“We hope it is our season,” Dortmund defender Neven Subotic said on UEFA’s website. “We have showed against a big team and in a tough group that we can come out on top. We want to prolong this Champions League experience as long as we can.”