14/10/2009 07:44, Report by Chris Conlan

My Old Trafford moment

North Stand resident Chris Conlan looks back on a Champions League tie against Real Madrid...

“Champions League games against the top European sides are always special but this was something else. It had everything – great goals, the world’s best referee [Pierluigi Collina] and an electrifying atmosphere; this was United fans at their very best.

"I watched from my usual seat in North Stand Tier 1 and despite us being 3-1 down from the first leg, everyone around me believed we could do it. A 2-0 win or a victory by three clear goals would get us through – easy! My optimism quickly began to evaporate though when Ronaldo (the other one) put Real ahead on 12 minutes.

"Ruud [van Nistelrooy] gave us hope just before half-time as did Ivan Helguera when he put through his own net after the restart. But either side of that Ronaldo completed a stunning hat-trick and Old Trafford rose as one to applaud him when he was substituted. Real class from the United fans.

"A frustrated David Beckham came off the bench to make a point to his manager with two goals, but in the end it was a mountain too high to climb, Real and Ronaldo in particular were just too good.

"The dream of reaching the final on home soil had gone, but I still felt a strange sense of elation at having witnessed a match that encompassed absolutely everything.”

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