UEFA President Michel Platini has paid tribute to all involved in last night's exciting semi-final encounter between Manchester United FC and AC Milan.
After a rousing contest at Old Trafford, where United secured a 3-2 lead to take to Milan next week, Mr Platini said: "It is on days like this that it is a pleasure to be involved in European football as the UEFA president. The match, in all aspects, was a positive advertisement for European football and the UEFA Champions League and I wish to pass on my appreciation to everyone involved from the players and coaches to the supporters who made the event a thrilling spectacle to a worldwide audience."
Such sentiments were shared by the press in England and Italy, and no doubt across the watching world. In paying tribute to "two great clubs, with their enduring culture of brilliant football", the Guardian said: "There were no losers on a night that lived up to the finest traditions of the two clubs and of the tournament on which both have engraved their names. United can celebrate a comeback surely as thrilling as any in their history, while Milan will point to two away goals that may tilt the balance at San Siro next week."
The "splendid old-style" occasion also prompted reverential tones from Corriere della Sera. "Manchester deserved the victory but Milan can regret not having tied up the game after the two wonderful goals by Kaká," it wrote. "The Rossoneri can surely look at this match as a missed chance. Qualification is still open but the first leg was certainly beautiful, honest, played with fair play and competitiveness with both sides always pushing at 100km an hour. A real beauty." All can look forward to more of the same in Milan next Wednesday.
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