Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Laird of the Premier League...

...with an Unconvincing European Record

Manchester United were unlucky to exit the Champions League, suffering a 2-1 home reverse in the second leg that saw them lose out 3-2 on aggregate.

Mourinho's Real Madrid toiled without much by way of inspiration until Nani's deeply contentious red card. By that point, United were leading 1-0 through Sergio Ramos's own goal. They had defended in an organised and resilient manner, and looked capable of producing more of the same, until Modric weaved past a couple of challenges and belted in a sensational equaliser. Minutes later, still reeling, United succumbed to something that these days, seems inevitable: a Cristiano Ronaldo goal.

A man down, a mountain to climb. But still, with the situation now apparently favouring Madrid's counter punching style, United attacked with vigour and might even have plundered the two goals they needed only for some wayward finishing.

The most entertaining thing about an entertaining night was the look of helpless rage on the face of Alex Ferguson after Nani's harsh dismissal for a high foot.

Ferguson's team are the perennial beneficiaries of contentious decisions at Old Trafford in domestic games as referees bow to the pressure of United's standing in the game and to the fearful rages of their manager.

But in Europe, United and Ferguson don't have quite the same sway. Ferguson's face was the face of a man not used to such obstacles. Welcome to everyone else's world Mr. Ferguson.

It was back to normal, however, in the FA Cup game against Chelsea. Rio Ferdinand was not called up at the time when he needlessly tripped Fernando Torres from behind, off the ball, an offence that should have resulted in a red card.

And though a player in another shirt would doubtless face retrospective punishment for less, Ferdinand has gotten away with it.

Despite this, Ferguson persists with the laughably deluded idea that the FA seek to persecute Manchester United. He might have bullied most of Britain into submission, but his haul of only two Champions League titles shows that European competition is a different proposition.


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