To say Madrid had got the rub of the green with some of the decisions in the game up to that point was an understatement and only referee Felix Brych knows why Varane was not punished and United were not even given a free-kick when the Madrid defender clearly fouled Evra as he raced towards goal with acres of green to run into not long before the hour mark.
Seconds after Gonzalo Higuain had replaced Karim Benzema, De Gea spectacularly saved with his feet after Coentrao had skidded in at the far post to meet Khedira’s dangerous centre. There was certainly no let-up in the pace of the game as both sides took the ‘you attack, we attack’ approach. Sir Alex saw fit to tighten things up and introduced some experienced legs in the shape of Ryan Giggs, on for Kagawa on 63 minutes. The veteran was afforded a sporting welcome by the home fans and slotted in on the left with Welbeck dropping in behind van Persie.
Ronaldo almost grabbed a second as he slid in at the near post to meet Di Maria’s right-wing cross, but Ferdinand managed to deflect his former team-mate’s attempt away for a corner. Seconds later, van Persie was denied twice in agonising fashion. After seeing his right-foot drive pushed onto the bar by Lopez, he failed to connect properly with a looped pass from Carrick that put him clear on goal. Mind you, his shot would still have gone in had it not been for Alonso’s last-ditch clearance off the line.
The chances kept coming at the other end – some pinball in the box eventually led to De Gea being alert to claim Khedira’s deflected effort 10 minutes from the end. Ronaldo blasted a trademark free-kick onto the roof of the net and then, in injury time, van Persie almost snatched victory for the Reds with a shot well saved by Lopez. Nonetheless, this 1-1 draw was still a great result for Sir Alex’s