Manchester United hosted AC Milan for the second leg of a Champions League tie that looked in the bag before they even kicked off. Man Utd won 3-2 in the first leg, giving them three away goals and a lead. If AC Milan were to advance here they would need to beat them, and beat them well, at Old Trafford – The Theatre of Dreams.
David Beckham made a long-awaited return to his former stadium for the match, but he didn’t start the game and sat on the bench.
AC Milan needed two goals at least and came close with Ronaldinho, but it was Manchester United who opened the scoring when the clinical frontman Wayne Rooney headed in from twelve yards. The goal came with just ten minutes of time played and it left AC Milan needing three goals; which was a massive ask.
With just a minute played of the second half, Rooney struck again, flicking the ball past the ‘keeper with a one-touch shot after a lovely ball from Nani. Man Utd moved to 5-2 on aggregate and 2-0 on the night, there was still forty-five minutes to play but AC Milan needed a miracle.
In-play pro’s were offering 8/1 for a draw at this stage and a massive
40/1 for an AC Milan comeback/win. But anyone who had been tempted by these odds would have been gravely disappointed when Park slipped in a third for Manchester United before the hour mark.
David Beckham was then subbed on to a great applause, welcoming banners and chants of his name but the fans were also up for a laugh as they booed him every time he touched the ball. As they welcomed back an old favorite the fans then said goodbye to Rooney who was subbed off after playing a vital role tonight.
Beckham nearly had a dream return with fifteen minutes left when a sweetly struck volley powered towards goal but was pushed away by Van der Sar, but Manchester United ended the night on a high with Fletcher nodding in with three minutes to go. A 7-2 aggregate win for United here.
In the other game of the night Real Madrid were looking to overcome a 1-0 first leg result when they hosted Lyon at the Santiago Bernabeu. They opened the scoring with just six minutes played when another former United star, Christino Ronaldo, smashed home from a tight angle.
Lyon surprised in the first leg and have looked a good team this season. Some may have taken this on board and had an in-play flutter for them to come back and take a draw in this game at 10/1, in which case there would have been plenty of delighted gamblers around when Pjanic tapped in a close range shot on seventy-six minutes to make it 1-1 on the night and give Lyon a 2-1 aggregate lead which they held until the end.
Both Man Utd and Lyon go through then and if you hadn’t picked up the hints, yes I did make that crazy Man Utd in-play bet mentioned above (the odds lured me in), but the losses on that were small and the gains from Lyon bet were very pleasing indeed and more than made up for it.