Wednesday nightâ€™s game between Manchester United and Inter Milan did not showcase the best of performances. United committed numerous errors that went unpunished by I Nerazzuri who seemed to lack of European experience and mental strength. At the end of it all, two goals proved enough for the Red Devils to be the first titleholders in the last five seasons to cross the last 16 stage.
Cristiano Ronaldo played most of his game as a typical right hand side winger, which disabled him from having clear occasions on goal. The talismanic number 7 was still good enough though to trouble once again Inter Milanâ€™s helpless defense.
(Click on ‘Read More’ to see Ronaldo’s goal against Inter Milan)
Already 1-0 up through Nemanja Vidicâ€™s 5th minute header from Ryan Giggsâ€™ corner, Manchester United could afford to slow down their pace as Internazionale did not threatened that much anyway at the other end of the pitch. All the same, Van der Sar had to make a couple of vital saves to keep his impressive record of successive clean sheets at Old Trafford since November 1, last year.
Inter Milanâ€™s best chance in the first period came through Ibrahimovic; the Swedish internationalâ€˜s hot ball from his bullet header unluckily hit the crossbar. The European titleholders went into the dressing room with their noses in front, much to the frustration of former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.
The visitors seemed to have found the way out to dominate the hosts in the first seconds of the second half. But this impression soon faded away.
Ryan Giggs started up the scenario with a breathtaking run piercing the midfield before given the ball away to Paul Scholes who passed it onto Rooney. Rooneyâ€™s cross from the left hand side reached the onside Portuguese ace; Ronaldo fired the ball at the back of the net to finish off Inter Milan and inscribe Manchester Unitedâ€™s second goal of the night on 48th minutes.
Adrianoâ€™s inclusion later on couldnâ€™t help Inter Milan to a stunning comeback; the Brazilian almost beat Van der Sar with his first shot of the game but only saw his ball hit the post and role behind the goal line. United could have increased the margin at several occasions, especially when Berbatov awfully missed a one-on-one chance against keeper Julio Cesar.
But Vidic and Ronaldoâ€™s goals were enough at the end to seal the victory and see Manchester United progress to the next stage of the competition. For Cristiano Ronaldo, Wednesday night will be a memorable day as the reigning UEFA Top Scorer bagged his first Champions League goal since scoring in the final in Moscow.
Ronaldo might be far from catching players like Steven Gerrard or Lionel Messi in the top scorers chart but at least, his dream of winning an unprecedented quintuple this season is still onâ€¦
Written by: Angela Asante