Europe watched tonight as the first round of the Champions League knockout stages kicked off with two huge games. In France Lyon were playing host to the legends Real Madrid, but the big game was down in Italy where AC Milan hosted Manchester United in the first leg of what promised to be a huge tie.
David Beckham started the game for Milan, playing against his old team, the team that raised him and his extraordinary talents. So the ex England skipper had a lot of weight on his shoulders for this match.
It didn’t take long for things to explode inside the San Siro. With just two minutes played Evra tried to clear a free-kick from Beckham but his clearance fell to the feet of Ronaldinho who drove a deflected shot into the back of the net, giving the home team – and outsiders for this match – a very early lead.
Milan looked strong after the goal with Ronaldinho showing off his tricks and Manchester United struggling in midfield and defense, but the English champions found their way back into the game with thirty-five minutes gone. Fletcher crossed in for Paul Scholes who swung with his right foot, missed, and then watched as the ball bounced off his left shin and trickled into the goal. A fluke but a much needed goal nevertheless.
Milan had chances in the second half with Pato, Pirlo and Ronaldinho all testing the ‘keeper, whilst Rooney tried a couple of snapshots at the other end for Man Utd. With twenty-five minutes left to play Manchester United added some more excitement into this tie when substitute Valencia whipped in a cross which Rooney nodded back across the ‘keeper and into the net. Putting them into a 2-1 lead, a crucial score for an away game in a two-legged match.
David Beckham was subbed off with twenty minutes to go having made little impact on the game, but the English supporters in the crowd sang him off with a brief chant of “there’s only one David Beckham”. Milan needed an equalizer but Manchester United looked the more likely to score and a couple of minutes after they watched an ex legend leave the field, they watched a new one put them 3-1 up when Rooney nipped through the defense to head home a Fletcher cross.
Seedorf scored with a lovely flicked strike towards the end of the game to make it 3-2 and the game ended on a massive high note. Milan finally woke up and missed a few crucial chances to level things up before Michael Carrick was sent off for Manchester United after being shown his second yellow card. Milan lost the game in the end though and will now head to Old Trafford with it all to do, needing to beat Manchester United on their own soil.
In the other game tonight Lyon beat Real Madrid 1-0 thanks to a smashing goal from Makoun a couple of minutes into the second half.