past Diego Lopez. Cue wild celebrations high in the end behind that very goal where more than 4,000 travelling Reds were stationed.
Madrid weren’t about to let the goal put them off course, though, and Mourinho’s men continued their charge towards United’s goal. And 10 minutes after going behind, parity was restored. Of course, it had to be Ronaldo. After Di Maria had stung the palms of De Gea and Ronaldo had flashed a low drive just wide, the pair combined to draw Madrid level. It was Di Maria who supplied the cross from the left, which Ronaldo duly headed home after hanging brilliantly above Patrice Evra. The former Red kept his celebrations low-key as the Bernabeu exploded with noise.
On rare ventures forward, the Reds still posed a strong threat in attack, with van Persie and Welbeck looking particularly sharp. The duo almost conjured up a second United goal on 34 minutes as Welbeck saw his poked effort from van Persie’s cross bounce off Lopez’s back and drop just wide of the far post. Rooney dragged a low shot just wide from the resulting corner.
Madrid continued to keep De Gea on his toes and the Spaniard produced an excellent parry from Ozil after a dream pass from Xabi Alonso over the top. A breath-taking first half offered up one final chance when Ronaldo, who had given Rafael a torrid time throughout the opening period, took aim from 25 yards. Thankfully, it flew just over.
Having survived the first half blitz from Madrid it was the visitors who had the first sight of goal after the restart, with Phil Jones heading over from a corner. It wasn’t long before De Gea was called into action again, though, as he ably dealt with strikes from Ronaldo and Di Maria. He breathed a sigh of relief when another Di Maria effort dropped inches wide of the post with De Gea rooted to the spot.