For around an hour, Manchester United had the upper hand against Real Madrid and several players put in a fine shift in a game that was turned on its head by Nani’s dismissal.
Rafael responded excellently to the onerous challenge of keeping Cristiano Ronaldo quiet. The right-back was his usual effervescent self in defence, subduing Ronaldo for long spells and making one top goalline clearance, as well as bombing forward whenever he got the opportunity.
The Brazilian’s fellow defender Nemanja Vidic was a colossus at the back, outmuscling Gonzalo Higuain and pretty much everyone else, and went close to scoring several times from corners, including one effort that smacked the post in the first half.
On his 1000th appearance in senior football, Ryan Giggs was one of the most energetic players on the pitch – at both ends. The 39-year-old broke up numerous Real attacks and orchestrated many of the Reds’ raids with his precise passing.
Danny Welbeck’s performance rivalled the one he produced in the Bernabeu. Always a willing outlet for the long ball, he was at the heart of most of United’s most promising attacks, including the goal, when he had a shot blocked and then deflected Nani’s cross to deceive Sergio Ramos.
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