Their goalscoring feats this season may not match those of FC Barcelona, but Manchester United FC's strike pair of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney proved highly effective on the holders' road back to the final.
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Their goalscoring feats this season may not match those of Barcelona, but Manchester United FC's strike pairing of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney proved highly effective in taking the holders back to the final, particularly in the latter stages.
UEFA Champions League Group E
In a relatively tight group, just two wins from their six games were enough to secure United top slot, one point ahead of a resolute Villarreal CF side who held them to consecutive 0-0 draws. A 3-0 victory at Aalborg BK, courtesy of a double-strike by Dimitar Berbatov in the second half after Wayne Rooney's 22nd minute opener, got United's campaign properly under way. There was more of the same for Martin O'Neill's Celtic FC, also beaten 3-0 by another Berbatov brace before Rooney completed the scoring in a comprehensive home victory.
First knockout round
FC Internazionale Milano 0-0 Manchester United FC
Manchester United FC 2-0 FC Internazionale Milano
Inter coach José Mourinho had enjoyed success against Ferguson with both FC Porto and Chelsea FC but the Portuguese coach's luck run out when the two sides met for a second time at Old Trafford after a goalless first leg. United's Serbian defender Nemanja Vidić ended the deadlock after four minutes, rising to meet a Ryan Giggs corner with a powerful header. Ronaldo put the result beyond four minutes after the re-start nodding home his first goal in the UEFA Champions League since last season's final victory over Chelsea in Moscow.
Manchester United FC 2-2 FC Porto
FC Porto 0-1 Manchester United FC
United left themselves with plenty to do in the second leg after conceding Mariano's 89th minute equaliser in a thrilling game in Manchester. Trailing to Rodriguez's fourth minute strike, Rooney levelled soon afterwards for a below-par United who improved after the break and looked to have won it when Argentine substitute Carlos Tévez nipped in to score with five minutes left. United knew it would take something special for them to get through at the Estádio do Dragão and Ronaldo duly provided it on his return to Portugal with a stunning 35-metre strike after six minutes which broke his compatriots' resistance.
Manchester United FC 1-0 Arsenal FC
Arsenal FC 1-3 Manchester United FC
United never looked like losing this all-Premier League tie and were unfortunate to have only John O'Shea's goal to show for their first-leg dominance. They made amends at the Emirates Stadium, though, with goals from Ji-Sung Park and Ronaldo within the first eleven minutes ripping the heart out of Arsène Wenger's young Arsenal side. Ronaldo added a third in the 61st minute before Robin van Persie converted a penalty as the only consolation for the 2006 finalists.