Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Madrid coach does not think his side deserved to win their Champions League match on Tuesday, and claimed the Red Devils were superior to los Blancos during the game
Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United were better than his team during Real Madrid's 2-1 victory at Old Trafford.

United attacker Nani was sent off in the second half for a high challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa, which proved to be a huge turning point in the game as Madrid went on to score twice after that contentious decision.

And Mourinho insisted that regardless of that game-changing moment, his side were lucky to escape with a victory.

"Independent of the red card decision, the best team lost," Mourinho told ITV after the final whistle.

The Red Devils had taken the lead shortly after half-time when Sergio Ramos deflected Nani's cross past his own goalkeeper, before the same United player was shown a straight red card by referee Cuneyt Cakir.

Los Blancos overturned United's lead following Nani's dismissal as Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo scored in quick succession, but their coach said after the game they were fortunate to triumph.

"We are happy to have qualified but I expected more," the 50-year-old said.
"When your keeper is your best player it shows you are not controlling the game as you should.

"We didn't play well, but football is like this."

Mourinho told Sky Sports that after his team's recent performances against Barcelona - where they won both clashes in the Copa del Rey and La Liga - he was disappointed that they failed to put in a similar showing against United.

"I was waiting for my team to come here and to express our football in a different way.

"I know they [United] are giants, not just physically, but mentally.

"11 vs 11, I doubt that we could win the match.

"I know they are fantastic, I know they have a manager who can motivate people, but I was waiting for us to come here and play a different way."

When asked about the next round and who he thought might win the competition, he said: "We've removed a big one [obstacle in the way of their CL progress], but the Champions League is full of good teams.

"Nobody speaks about Dortmund, I played them in the group phase, they are fantastic.

"Nobody talks about Celtic, from Milan-Barca a big team will come too, I don't know, Paris, Valencia, Bayern. There are so many teams, so many obstacles, but this one was important, particularly after the first leg."

The former Chelsea manager also spoke of his pleasure at being back in England, if only for a short time.

"I love it, everybody knows I love it, and everybody knows that someday I will be back, unless nobody wants me!" he joked.

"Independent of the result, it's brilliant to play here."

The draw for the quarter-finals will take place in Nyon on Friday, March 15.

     UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Manchester United
1 vs 2
Real Madrid
Real Madrid
March 6, 2013 1:15 AM IST
Old Trafford — Manchester
Referee:‬ C. Çakιr‎
Attendance:‬ 74959‎
48′ (OG) Sergio Ramos
Luka Modric 66′ Cristiano Ronaldo 69′ 

Top of the Match
Diego López Rodríguez 
Real Madrid
Luka Modric
Real Madrid
Flop of the Match
Mesut Özil
Real Madrid
Manchester Unite
Cristiano Ronaldo
Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo came back to haunt 10-man Manchester United as Real Madrid booked their place in the Champions League quarter-final with a dramatic and controversial 2-1 victory at Old Trafford.

With the tie finely balanced at 1-1 following the first leg in Spain, United struck first through an own goal by Sergio Ramos early in the second half but the game turned on its head after Nani was sent-off in the 56th minute for a high boot in a challenge with Alvaro Arbeloa.

48' OWN GOAL! Ramos bundles in
56' RED CARD! Nani is sent off
66' GOAL! Modric makes it 1-1
69' GOAL! Ronaldo nets winner

Made a number of brilliant saves before and after Madrid had taken the lead. Didn't always exude confidence, spilling the odd shot or mistiming the occasional punch but prevented his side from conceding more than one goal and was unfortunate to see his own team-mate knock the ball past him. A brilliant, match-winning display.
Real Madrid used their man advantage and sealed the aggregate victory with two goals in three minutes. Substitute Luka Modric equalised with a stunning strike from 25 yards before Ronaldo slid in at the far post to break the hearts of supporters who gave him a hero's reception before kick-off.

The result completes a wonderful week for the Spanish giants following two wins over bitter rivals Barcelona and the visiting fans saluted coach Jose Mourinho as they target an historic 10th European crown.

Ronaldo had a relatively quiet game on his first return to Old Trafford since his £80m transfer in 2009 but the script was always written for the Portuguese forward to have the final say.

He may not have done so were it not for referee Cuneyt Cakir, who infuriated United with his decision to show a red card to Nani. The United winger appeared to be challenging for the ball and certainly meant no harm to Arbeloa, but the consequence of his dismissal was that the home side's gameplan, which had worked so well to that point, was ruined.

Sir Alex Ferguson made a hugely bold decision of only naming Wayne Rooney as a substitute for United, with Ryan Giggs making his 1000th career appearance in central midfield in the absence of Phil Jones with an ankle injury. Nemanja Vidic returned at centre-back in place of Jonny Evans after the United captain missed the first leg.

There were no such surprises in the Real Madrid line-up, with Gonzalo Higuain selected ahead of Karim Benzema to lead the attack as Jose Mourinho returned to his first choice starting XI having rested a number of players in the 2-1 win over Barcelona on Saturday.

Mourinho claimed this clash between two of the biggest clubs in the Europe would "stop the world" and stars past and present were in attendance at Old Trafford for this showpiece occasion, from Diego Maradona to Gareth Bale.

Ferguson called on the crowd to "turn up the volume" in his pre-match programme notes and Old Trafford was a cauldron of noise at the teams made their way out of the tunnel at the Stretford End,  with the home fans unveiling a mosaic in support of their team.

As the team line-ups were read out, Ronaldo's name was greeted with an enormous roar from all sides of the stadium, the former United man looking choked as he patted his chest and raised an arm to acknowledge the reception.

Ferguson predicted an attacking game but set out to stifle Real and counter-attack, with his plan working almost perfectly in the first half as they restricted the visitors and came closest to opening the scoring.

United captain Vidic thought he had scored in the 21st minute but his thumping header from Giggs’ corner rattled against the post before Danny Welbeck, admittedly in an offside position, mishit the rebound straight at Real goalkeeper Diego Lopez.

In the 34th minute, Lopez was again forced in to action as he made a hash of his attempt to save Robin van Persie’s shot from a tight angle and had to react quickly to deflect Welbeck’s rebound over the crossbar with his shoulder.

But the hosts had to wait less than three minutes after the break to take the lead.

After Madrid defenders blocked two United shots in the penalty area, the ball landed at Nani's feet on the left. The Portuguese winger played the ball into the box and, after the faintest touch off Welbeck, Ramos could only turn it into his own net.

The turning point, however, came in the 56th minute when Nani was shown a straight red card by Turkish referee Cakir for a high foot in a 50-50 challenge with Arbeloa. On first viewing, it looked a harsh decision and it certainly left Ferguson and the United players fuming with the officials.

Mourinho responded to the man advantage by bringing on Modric for Arbeloa and the former Tottenham midfielder levelled the score in the 66th minute. After picking the ball up 30 yards from goal, Modric breezed past Tom Cleverley and struck a thunderous effort in off the post from 25 yards.

Three minutes later, Real Madrid took the lead for the first time in the tie. Higuain fizzed a low cross along the six-yard box and Ronaldo used all of his predatory instincts to slide in at the far post and end United's European campaign.
For 56 minutes, Manchester United had Real Madrid right where they wanted them. Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso had been largely shackled; Michael Carrick was calmly conducting things from the base of United's midfield; Nani, Ryan Giggs and Danny Welbeck were everywhere.
An accomplished first-half defensive performance from Sir Alex Ferguson's team was rewarded when Sergio Ramos put one into his own net early in the second—the result of a slip from Raphael Varane that allowed Nani to send over a teasing cross.
Ramos' deflated expression as Old Trafford erupted spoke volumes. Jose Mourinho's Madrid were on the ropes and you sensed United were preparing to land a volley of follow-up punches. Confidence flowed as the crowd bayed for blood.
Madrid were, it seemed, going out.
Everything was going to plan for United until, with a flippant slide of his hand to his back pocket, the referee played a bigger role than any player before or after him in affecting the game's outcome.
Nani was trying to meet a high ball on United's right. He very well could have been aware of the incoming Alvaro Arbeloa in his peripheral, but his striking the Madrid player in midair with a boot was, at most, a yellow card.
Referee Cuneyt Cakir went red. It was a shocking decision that would come to define the contest, and it will be debated for years to come. Put simply, he got it spectacularly wrong and United paid the ultimate price.
With Nani went United's defensive shape and their chances of advancing to the quarterfinals.
With Ferguson fuming, Mourinho went almost immediately to his bench. On came the mercurial Luka Modric and, about 10 minutes after Nani's sending off, the sometime Croatian magician sent a wonderful curling shot beyond the clutches of David De Gea to bring the tie level at 1-1.
Mourinho deserves credit for bringing him on, as Modric opened the space necessary to deliver the most exquisite of finishes. But you couldn't help but feel United's coverage was compromised by the loss of Nani. Without him, they were stretched, and their Spanish visitors finally had space to breathe.
Hi-res-163160806_crop_exact Ronaldo celebrates Madrid's winner
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Soon after, Madrid killed the tie stone-dead. Gonzalo Higuain found space on the right and his driven cross was tapped in at the far post by Ronaldo—a clear beneficiary of Nani's departure for the free run he was allowed down United's left.

Ronaldo put his hands to his chest, respecting the fans who once came to worship him. The red card wasn't his fault, nor was it Madrid's. Old Trafford had only the referee to blame for a night that was undone by a baffling error of judgment.

Not even United could recover down 2-1, needing two goals from their 10 men with 20 minutes or so to play. They tried their damndest, but not even the introduction of Wayne Rooney could spark the kind of recovery Ferguson teams are famous for.
The battle was lost.
Madrid advanced and Mourinho's hopes of bringing them a 10th European title live on. United were left to count the cost of a lapse in officiating that undermined an entire season's effort.
It should have been a night to remember for the fabulous football played between two of the most storied teams in Europe, but a man named Cakir stole the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Was the Nani red the right call?

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