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United look to restore home rule

David Beckham is back in town but Manchester United FC will be more concerned with rediscovering their formidable home form when they look to protect a slender first-leg advantage against AC Milan.

United look to restore home rule
United look to restore home rule ©UEFA.com

Manchester United FC will look to deny David Beckham a happy homecoming when AC Milan come to town for the second leg of the clubs' UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.

• Beckham's return to Old Trafford will dominate the build-up but United fans will be more concerned about their current favourites' ability to rediscover their best home form and protect a 3-2 lead gained in the first leg in Milan.

• Sir Alex Ferguson's team recovered from Ronaldinho's third-minute opener in San Siro, Paul Scholes (36) levelling before a pair of Wayne Rooney headers (66, 74) put them in control of the tie – although Clarence Seedorf's 85th-minute strike gives Milan hope for Manchester.

• United picked up only four points at Old Trafford in the group stage and surrendered their 23-match unbeaten home run in the UEFA Champions League to Beşiktaş JK.

• The last foreign visitors to beat United before Beşiktaş were Milan in 2005 and they return to Old Trafford buoyed by away victories at Olympique de Marseille and Real Madrid CF.

Previous meetings
• Milan won all four of the clubs' two-legged encounters down the years, but only once have they avoided defeat in the away leg.

• The teams first faced each other in the 1957/58 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals, when Milan became the first team to overturn a first-leg deficit against United in the competition. After Tommy Taylor's 80th-minute strike secured United a 2-1 success at Old Trafford, Milan turned the tables in the return, Juan Schiaffino (2), Nils Liedholm and Giancarlo Danova scoring in a 4-0 triumph.

• When the sides met again in the 1968/69 semi-finals, Milan prevailed 2-1 on aggregate. The Rossoneri followed up a 2-0 home success with a 1-0 defeat in Manchester, where present-day United director Sir Bobby Charlton found the net.

• Milan recorded 1-0 victories home and away in the teams' UEFA Champions League first knockout round encounter in 2004/05, Hernán Crespo the scorer in both games.

• The teams for the first leg of that tie in Manchester on 23 February 2005 were:
United: Carroll, Neville (Silvestre 80), Ferdinand, Brown, Heinze, Ronaldo (Van Nistelrooy 63), Scholes, Keane, Fortune (Saha 80), Giggs, Rooney.
Milan: Dida, Cafu (Costacurta 87), Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze, Gattuso, Pirlo (Ambrosini 84), Seedorf, Rui Costa, Kaká (Serginho 90), Crespo.

• United earned a 3-2 first-leg lead at Old Trafford when the clubs met in the 2006/07 semi-final, Wayne Rooney's double strike overturning a 2-1 half-time deficit. But Milan powered through to the final by winning the return 3-0 through goals from Kaká, Seedorf and Alberto Gilardino.

• The lineups for the Old Trafford game on 24 April 2007 were:
United: Van der Sar, O'Shea, Brown, Heinze, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Scholes, Ronaldo, Rooney, Giggs.
Milan: Dida, Oddo, Nesta, Maldini (Bonera 46), Jankulovski, Gattuso (Brocchi 52), Pirlo, Ambrosini, Seedorf, Kaká, Gilardino (Gourcuff 84).

Match background
• Even before losing to Beşiktaş, United had struggled at Old Trafford, falling behind against both VfL Wolfsburg and PFC CSKA Moskva before fighting back to earn a win and a draw respectively.

• Sir Alex's men can take heart from a strong home record against Italian teams. Since Milan's victory in Manchester – their only success away to English opposition – the Premier League champions have recorded five straight wins against visitors from Serie A.

• Milan snatched a 2-2 draw at Portsmouth FC on their last trip to England in November 2008, retrieving a two-goal deficit through late goals from Ronaldinho (84) and Filippo Inzaghi (90+2) in the UEFA Cup group stage.

• Milan won the 2003 UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford, beating Juventus on penalties after a goalless draw.

• Dida, Gennaro Gattuso, Inzaghi, Alessandro Nesta, Andrea Pirlo and Seedorf all started the final, while Massimo Ambrosini appeared as a substitute. Gianluca Zambrotta, now a Milan player, was in the Juventus lineup.

• Ominously for Milan, of the four previous occasions they have lost the first leg at home in UEFA competition, they have won only one tie. That came against 1. FC Saarbrücken in the 1955/56 European Cup first round, Milan's first European tie, when a 4-3 defeat in Italy was followed by a 4-1 away success. However, FC Barcelona (1959/60 European Cup first round and 2005/06 UEFA Champions League semi-finals) and RCD Espanyol (1987/88 UEFA Cup second round) all built on a first-leg away win to eliminate Milan.

• United, meanwhile, have progressed in all 12 UEFA club competition ties where they have won the first game away from home.

Team ties
• Milan coach Leonardo lined up against Gary Neville in a 1995 friendly international at Wembley, coming on as a substitute in Brazil's 3-1 victory. He later faced both Neville and Scholes in a 1997 friendly in Paris that Brazil won 1-0.

• Beckham had a 12-year association with United, signing as a schoolboy in 1991 and making his debut in 1995. He went on to make 394 appearances in all competitions, scoring 86 goals, before leaving for Real Madrid in 2003.

• During his time at Old Trafford, Beckham collected six Premier League winners' medals and together with Ryan Giggs and Neville, was part of the team that won the UEFA Champions League final in 1999.

• Beckham scored his last goal at Old Trafford in a 4-1 league win against Charlton Athletic on 3 May 2003. The previous month he had registered his final UEFA Champions League goals in a United shirt when scoring twice in the 4-3 quarter-final home victory against Madrid.

• Beckham and Michael Owen played together at Madrid in 2004/05.

• Inzaghi played with Edwin van der Sar at Juventus between 1999 and 2001.

• Inzaghi scored an 84th-minute winner for Juventus when they defeated United 1-0 in Turin in the UEFA Champions League group stage in December 1997. He also found the net twice against United in a 3-2 home loss for the Bianconeri in the 1999 semi-finals.

• Thiago Silva was in Brazil's lineup for a 1-0 win against an England side including Wes Brown, Ben Foster and Rooney in a friendly in Qatar last November.

• When Ronaldinho scored Brazil's winner against England in the 2002 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, Rio Ferdinand, Scholes and Owen all featured on the losing side along with Beckham.

• Ronaldinho and Anderson both started their careers with Brazilian club Grêmio FBPA.

• Mathieu Flamini played in the Premier League for Arsenal FC from 2004 to 2008, finishing on the winning side against United only twice in eight meetings.

• Zambrotta was in the FC Barcelona side beaten by United in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League semi-finals – indeed it was his misplaced pass that led to Scholes scoring the only goal of the tie at Old Trafford.

• Flavio Roma was a colleague of Patrice Evra in the AS Monaco FC team that lost the UEFA Champions League final to FC Porto in 2004.

• Evra played in Italy for lower-division clubs Marsala Calcio and Monza Calcio.

• Ji-Sung Park scored for PSV Eindhoven against Milan in the 2005 UEFA Champions League semi-final, albeit in a losing cause.