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.
Six minutes in, the lively Ji-sung Park was put clear by Giggs, but the Korean could only fire across the face of goal from a tight angle. A minute later, Tevez fed Park wide on the right. The Korean sent an early centre back towards the Argentine whose header drifted narrowly wide. Wes Brown then went close in the ninth minute, heading Giggs' corner over the bar.