Chelsea comes to Old Trafford for the second leg quarter final of the Champions League on Tuesday night trailing 0-1 following Manchester United’s impressive victory at Stamford Bridge last week. Expectations that a winnable semi final clash with Germany’s Schalke 04 can be secured are high but the tie is far from over. The reigning Premier League champions have long carried an obsession with winning Europes top prize ensuring a pulsating 90 minutes going down to the wire.
It’s nothing new for Sir Alex Ferguson, he faced a similar quarter final, second leg challenge from AS Roma on the way to the final three years ago. No less than nine members of that United team are again in line to face Chelsea, giving Ferguson a strong edge in the battle for yet another European Cup semi final
Manchester United 1 v Roma 0 (3 – 0 on aggregate)
2008 Champions League, Quarter Final 2nd leg – April 9, 2008 at Old Trafford
Footymad reports – Manchester United joined Chelsea and Liverpool in the Champions League semi finals after Carlos Tevez’s second half goal sealed a 3-0 aggregate victory against AS Roma. However, it was not all plain sailing for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side following their 2-0 first leg win against Serie A’s second placed team in the Italian capital last week. After dominating the first half hour they conceded a penalty and were relieved to see Daniele de Rossi fire his spot kick over the bar.
Roma wasted several other chances to score before the outstanding Owen Hargreaves crossed for Tevez to head home the only goal of the evening. Rio Ferdinand was a surprise inclusion in United’s starting line up after recovering from the injury he picked up at Middlesbrough on Sunday. Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were on the bench while Ferguson opted to start with Mikael Silvestre who has been sidelined since September, and Gerard Pique.
United began the game extremely brightly and Philippe Mexes was forced to clear Hargreaves’ dangerous early cross away from danger. Ji-Sung Park dragged an effort off target before the South Korean’s looping cross found Tevez who was unable to guide his header towards goal.
An unmarked Wes Brown then headed over the bar when he should at least have hit the target and Ryan Giggs threaded the ball through to Hargreaves who was denied by Doni’s smart save. Mirko Vucinic forced Edwin Van der Sar to make his first save of the evening before Tevez and Hargreaves combined to set up Giggs who was again denied by Doni.
Another good save by Doni kept Tevez’s effort out after more excellent play down the right hand flank by Hargreaves before Roma were handed a controversial penalty when Brown was deemed to have brought down Mancini. However, de Rossi’s penalty was dreadful sailing way, way over the bar as United breathed a sigh of relief.
The miss seemed to revitalise the Serie A side though and they dominated possession for a spell without creating any clear cut chances until United broke the deadlock in the 70th minute. Hargreaves was once again the architect, crossing for Tevez to guide a diving header past Doni.
The match won, Gary Neville was brought on for the last ten minutes to a rousing reception from the home fans as he tasted first-team action for the first time in 13 months. United will now play Barcelona in the semi finals later this month after the Catalan giants completed their victory against… Germany’s Schalke 04.
Manchester United – van der Sar, Brown, Pique, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Hargreaves, Park, Anderson (Neville 81), Tevez, Carrick (O’Shea 74), Giggs (Rooney 74)
AS Roma – Doni, Panucci, Cassetti (Tonetta 56), Mexes, Silveira, Pizarro (Giuly 69), De Rossi, Perrotta, Vucinic, Mancini, Taddei (Esposito 81)
Will an away goal advantage be enough to secure United a semi final berth?