It was the second day of the round of 16 of the Champions League, and after seeing Liverpool and Chelsea see out Real Madrid and Juventus, I knew Man United had to do their job. They obliged, with a final score of 2-0, and with Arsenal winning on penalties as well, four English teams have made it to the quarterfinals.
As a United fan, the Inter match was all the more interesting given that we had a chance to get one back over The Not So Special One, Jose Mourinho. And I am so glad we did. After coming to Old Trafford earlier than the players to be at the centre of attention again, he left with the sourest of looks on his face. Priceless.
So United picked up where we left off in Milan and dominated the first five minutes or so, with Vidic scoring in the 4th after evading former Arsenal boy Vieira for a free header off a corner kick. (Nemanja WHOA-OH! Nemanja WHOA-OH!)
After that it was pretty much an even match, Inter having their own fair share of chances and us having a couple of real scares as well, the biggest of those when Ibrahimovic gained a clear header of the ball but hit it against the post. Don’t ask me what Ferdinand was doing.
John O’Shea committed about five fouls on the same Milan guy (Balotelli) in the first half an hour. I was really surprised he managed to avoid getting a card throughout the entire match.
Later he messed up one of our best chances of the night when put through one on one with the Julio Cesar after a beautiful pass from Berbatov. Let’s hope he’s saving that special goal for the 91st minute if we’re still all square with Liverpool on Saturday.
Berba was guilty of one of those screw ups too. One on one with Cesar as well, you’d think he’d taken lessons from O’Shea from the way he hit that straight at him.
The buildup to the second goal was nothing short of magnificent though. Again, in the fourth minute from the whistle for the second half, Ronaldo got a free header into goal that virtually sealed it for us. We’d been run over by Inter in the three minutes prior to that, but one mistake to give the ball away to us was all we needed.
Giggsy, the legend, who was in one of his brilliant streaks of form again tonight, danced through the entire defence on the edge of the box before passing it to Scholes in the centre who went left to Rooney.
Wazza took his own time to pick out his man for a pass and lifted the ball over oh so sweetly into the path of the onrushing Ronaldo and Ronny made no mistake putting it past Cesar with no Inter defender close to him at all.
The crowd had gone nuts by then, and the VIVA RONALDOs from Old Trafford might have been the loudest I’ve heard all season. Meanwhile, Van Der Sar made some excellent saves and decisive keeping to see us through to the quarters. The curse of the last 16 was broken by us.
Now, can we break the next curse and be the first team to retain the Champions League trophy? Well, to complete that quintuple, sure we’ve got to.
My only complaint now is that we won’t be seeing our favourite Italian team in the competition any longer, now that Roma has been knocked out by Arsenal. I switched channels to watch the penalty kicks and I was just waiting for Gallas to be the one who kicks, misses and sends Arsenal back to London.
That fairytale ending never quite came, though. Tonetto’s penalty for Roma had “Fly Emirates to London” written all over it as he ballooned the ball over the net.
So that's four English teams into the next round. Not exactly what I’d have liked but other than the likes of Barcelona and maybe, just maybe Bayern Munich, it’s probably gonna be a complete English affair till the end.
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