Carlos Tevez's diving header set up a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final with Barcelona as the Reds ran out 3-0 aggregate winners over AS Roma at Old Trafford.
Sir Alex's men already held a 2-0 advantage going into the quarter-final second leg tie and Tevez’s 70th-minute strike confirmed their place in the last four where they will face Frank Rijkaard's side.
The pre-match talk was all about whether Rio Ferdinand would be fit to face the Italians and, after passing a late fitness test, he took his place in a side containing neither Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo nor Paul Scholes. Owen Hargreaves, Ji-sung Park, Anderson, Ryan Giggs and Carlos Tevez made up United'a attacking quintet, with Michael Carrick sitting just in front of the back four.
With Nemanja Vidic still suffering with a knee injury, Gerard Pique was called in to partner Ferdinand at the heart of the defence. The left-back spot went to Mikael Silvestre, starting his first game for the Reds since injuring knee ligaments against Everton in September. There was also a place on the bench for skipper Gary Neville, more than a year after his last first-team outing.
The selection may have seemed cautious but United attacked from the off, forcing a corner after just three minutes after a good run and cross from Owen Hargreaves on the right. Buoyed by the luxury of having a 2-0 cushion, the Reds continued to press forward and very nearly added to their aggregate tally through a host of opportunities in the opening 10 minutes.