Manchester United were able to grab an all important away goal as they played to a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Danny Welbeck grabbed the first goal of the match before Cristiano Ronaldo equalized with a fantastic header.
United took to the the Bernabeu pitch with a mind to play defensive, but they also wanted to try and hit Real on the counter-attack. Real Madrid took early charge of the match by constantly putting United's back-line under pressure looking to score quick and early. Fabio Coentrao came ever so close to giving Real a lead when the defender took a nice shot that David de Gea just barely got fingertips to which pushed it onto the post and out. A notable absentee for United was Nemanja Vidic who did not feature for the Red Devils as Sir Alex Ferguson said he was not fit for the match.
United did have their moment of challenging Real's shaky defense. After one such attack around the 20th minute, United got themselves a corner kick that Wayne Rooney took. The England striker did not disappoint, placing the ball right on Welbeck's head who saw his effort land in the back of the net. With the Bernabeu crowd stunned, Welbeck ran off to celebrate where the United fans were. It was a vital moment in the match for United, as they grabbed a precious away goal.
The goal did not relieve any pressure that was being put on United's back four, and the Red Devils had every man back to defend. 10 minutes after United's goal, Ronaldo showed his world class abilities and rose above Patrice Evra to head into the back of de Gea's net. It was a goal that was always coming but United would have still felt comfortable with the score being 1-1 and the two teams went into halftime with Real perhaps slightly frustrated at the lack of real chances they created.
The second half began with United trying to take the game to Real winning a few corners and putting together a few attacks. The United attack was short lived however, and they soon reverted back to defense with the intention to mount counter attacks when they could. The second half was a difficult one for Real as they began to be frustrated by United's stern defense. The Spanish team seemed to begin to run out of ideas and never posed a big enough threat. De Gea did wonders to convince everyone that he is the United goalkeeper of the future by putting in a commanding performance at the back. The Spanish keeper looked calm and comfortable and made a few nice stops from decent Real chances.
United never really got anything going on the attack and had trouble retaining possession. Expect a different approach to the second leg by United as they will look to close out the tie at home.
Man of the Match: Danny Welbeck. David de Gea was brilliant in goal but Welbeck grabbed the all important away goal with a nicely taken header from a Rooney corner. The forward also looked the most threatening in attack trying many times to make something out of nothing.
Real Madrid: Diego Lopez; Raphael Varane, Fabio Coentrao, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa; Xabi Alonso (Pepe), Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Angel Di Maria (Luka Modric); Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema (Gonzalo Higuain)
Manchester United: David de Gea; Rafael, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans; Michael Carrick, Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck (Antonio Valencia, Shinji Kagawa (Ryan Giggs); Wayne Rooney (Anderson), Robin van Persie
Manchester United Next Match: Reading (FA Cup) Monday February 18
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