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On-song Rooney inspires United comeback

Published: Tuesday 16 February 2010, 22.50CET
AC Milan 2-3 Manchester United FC
Wayne Rooney struck twice as Sir Alex Ferguson's side recovered from an early setback to take a decisive advantage in this tie.
by Richard Aikman
from San Siro

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Match statistics

MilanMan. United

Goals scored2
 
3
Attempts on target6
 
4
Attempts off target7
 
9
Corners6
 
4
Offsides0
2
Fouls committed15
 
18
Yellow cards1
 
3
Red cards0
1

Standings

 
Published: Tuesday 16 February 2010, 22.50CET

On-song Rooney inspires United comeback

AC Milan 2-3 Manchester United FC
Wayne Rooney struck twice as Sir Alex Ferguson's side recovered from an early setback to take a decisive advantage in this tie.

Manchester United FC recovered from an early setback as two second-half headers from Wayne Rooney helped them to a first ever win at San Siro, though Clarence Seedorf's late effort leaves AC Milan with every hope in this UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie.

That United held on at all in the second half was an achievement in itself after Ronaldinho had given the hosts a third-minute lead. The Serie A side squandered chances to extend their advantage and Paul Scholes' fortuitous equaliser gave the visitors a foothold before Roooney's two headers put Sir Alex Ferguson's men in control. Substitute Seedorf's late strike made for an exciting climax, with Michael Carrick sent off for a second bookable offence, but United held on.

Leonardo had said his side needed a "flawless" performance and they got off to the perfect start when Ronaldinho struck in their very first attack. Playing against his former side, David Beckham was involved, swinging a free-kick into the box, but the chance arose more as a result of Patrice Evra's miscued clearance than any set-piece artistry. The ball fell to Ronaldinho on the edge of the area and the Brazilian fired in first time off Carrick's legs, before embarking on a festive samba.

The goal set the tone for a first half dominated by the hosts. Emboldened by their start, Pato created another opening for Ronaldinho though this time, without a deflection to contend with, Edwin van der Sar was equal to it. United were under pressure, and fortunate not to go two down when Thiago Silva threaded a pass into the area for Luca Antonini, who pulled his shot wide from 12 metres.

The visitors mustered a hopeful attempt from Scholes, and Rooney went closer with an angled drive but the Premier League champions were uncharacteristically ceding possession. Rio Ferdinand was a case in point, heading the ball into the path of Pato, whose shot was blocked by Evra. Another mix-up enabled Massimo Ambrosini to pick out Klaas Jan Huntelaar, who drove just wide.

For all the hosts' dominance, they were pegged back by United's first real attack on 36 minutes. Darren Fletcher found space on the right and his low centre was met by Scholes' standing foot, the ball going in off the far post. Milan reacted well, Ronaldinho testing Van der Sar either side of half-time and Pato powering Giuseppe Favalli's header over.

Rooney was beginning to show glimpses of his explosive power, forcing Dida into a save just after the hour. Yet when his first goal came on 66 minutes it was out of the blue as he headed Antonio Valencia's cross back across the goalkeeper just moments after the Ecuadorean's introduction. Milan were rocked, forced to defend ever deeper and eight minutes later Rooney inflicted further damage, beating the offside trap to glance in Fletcher's cross.

Home hopes rose five minutes from time when Ronaldinho created space for a left-wing centre which substitute Seedorf flicked in to make for a rousing finale. Filippo Inzaghi blazed over, Thiago Silva headed high from a metre out but the hosts could not find the equaliser and will head to Old Trafford on 10 March needing a win.

Last updated: 27/11/12 7.27CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000029/match=2000467/postmatch/report/index.html#rooney+inspires+united+comeback

At a glance

What happened
Ronaldinho gave Milan a dream start but Paul Scholes hit a fortunate equaliser (36) and Wayne Rooney added two more before Clarence Seedorf left the tie in the balance.

Key moment
Darren Fletcher's cross evaded Scholes' air shot, hit his standing leg and rolled in off the post – not pretty, but enough to help end a run of four defeats at San Siro.

Numbers game
Daniele Bonera recently returned after eight months out injured, but there was no rustiness in two exquisite first-half tackles to halt attacks from Ji-Sung Park and Rooney.

One on one
Rooney looked set for an unusually frustrating night as Thiago Silva kept him subdued throughout the first half – but the striker can only be keep quiet for so long.

Crowd pleaser
Four times a European champion, Seedorf has always had fine timing and showed it again with time running out, applying an exquisite flick to Ronaldinho's centre.

What it means
Milan's hopes rest on becoming only the second team to win at Old Trafford in 25 games in this competition on 10 March. They did it last time, prevailing 1-0 in 2004/05.

Lineups

milan

Milan

man. united

Man. United

1
DidaDida (GK)
1
Van der SarEdwin van der Sar (GK)
7
PatoPato
3
EvraPatrice Evra
11
HuntelaarKlaas-Jan Huntelaar
Substitution77
5
FerdinandRio Ferdinand (C)
13
NestaAlessandro Nesta
10
RooneyWayne Rooney
Yellow Card44
Goal66
Goal74
21
PirloAndrea Pirlo
13
Park Ji-SungPark Ji-Sung
23
AmbrosiniMassimo Ambrosini (C)
16
CarrickMichael Carrick
Yellow Card63
Red Card90+3
25
BoneraDaniele Bonera
17
NaniNani
Substitution65
32
BeckhamDavid Beckham
Substitution72
18
ScholesPaul Scholes
Goal36
33
Thiago SilvaThiago Silva
21
RafaelRafael
Substitution90+3
77
AntoniniLuca Antonini
Substitution38
23
J. EvansJonny Evans
80
RonaldinhoRonaldinho
Goal3
Yellow Card90+3
24
D. FletcherDarren Fletcher

Substitutes

12
AbbiatiChristian Abbiati (GK)
29
KuszczakTomasz Kuszczak (GK)
8
GattusoGennaro Gattuso
2
G. NevilleGary Neville
9
F. InzaghiFilippo Inzaghi
Substitution77
6
BrownWes Brown
Substitution90+3
10
SeedorfClarence Seedorf
Substitution72
Goal85
7
OwenMichael Owen
16
FlaminiMathieu Flamini
9
BerbatovDimitar Berbatov
19
FavalliGiuseppe Favalli
Substitution38
25
ValenciaAntonio Valencia
Substitution65
20
AbateIgnazio Abate
28
GibsonDarron Gibson

Coach

Leonardo (BRA) Sir Alex Ferguson (SCO)

Referee

Olegário Benquerença (POR)

Assistant referees

Jose Cardinal (POR), Bertino Miranda (POR)

Fourth official

Artur Dias (POR)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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