Stakes high as United host Real
It's all to play for as English Premier League giants Manchester United welcome their Spanish counterparts Real Madrid at Old Trafford for the mother of all Champions League encounters on Tuesday night.
The two will battle it out in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 clash, live on SS3 and SS HD1 from 9pm. A platform for fan interaction will be available on supersport.com through a live blog.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has predicted plenty of goals as both sides will go for the kill to ensure progress to the quarterfinals. "It doesn't get any bigger than this," he said. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu.
All eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo when he returns to Old Trafford with Real Madrid for the second leg of their Uefa Champions League round of 16 contest against Manchester United.
Ronaldo spent six years at United and was on target against his old club in the first leg on 13 February, cancelling out Danny Welbeck's 20th-minute opener to earn Madrid a 1-1 draw.
These clubs have met in four previous European Cup ties with the winners going on to lift the trophy on three occasions. Madrid came out on top in the semifinals in 1956/57 and quarterfinals in 1999/2000 and also 2002/03 (when they went out in the last four). United prevailed in the 1967/68 semifinals.
Madrid overcame United 6-5 on aggregate in a memorable encounter ten seasons ago. Vicente del Bosque's side emerged 3-1 winners from the first leg at the Bernabeu, Luis Figo and Raul Gonzalez (2) scoring before Ruud van Nistelrooy pulled a goal back.
The Brazilian Ronaldo struck a hat-trick in the Old Trafford return, leaving the pitch to applause from the home supporters who then saw United fight back to win 4-3 through two goals from substitute David Beckham. Van Nistelrooy and Ivan Helguera (own goal) also found the net.
The lineups from that Old Trafford meeting on 23 April 2003 were:
Man Utd: Barthez, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Brown, Silvestre (P Neville 79), Veron (Beckham 63), Butt, Keane (Fortune 82), Giggs, Van Nistelrooy, Solskjær.
Madrid: Casillas, Salgado, Hierro, Helguera, Roberto Carlos, Zidane, McManaman (Portillo 69), Figo (Pavon 88), Makelele, Ronaldo (Solari 67), Guti.
• In the 1999/2000 quarterfinals, eventual champions Madrid advanced 3-2 on aggregate as they followed up a goalless home draw by taking a 3-0 lead in Manchester through Roy Keane's own goal and a Raul double, before Beckham and Paul Scholes replied for the then holders. Ryan Giggs and Iker Casillas also featured.
• George Best got the only goal of the teams' 1967/68 semifinal first leg at Old Trafford. United then battled back from 3-1 behind to draw 3-3 in Madrid and went on to lift the trophy for the first time.
• Madrid won the first-ever meeting 5-3 on aggregate to reach the 1956/57 final. The Merengues overcame Matt Busby's men 3-1 at home and then led 2-0 at half-time in Manchester through goals from Raymond Kopa and Hector Rial. However, Tommy Taylor and Bobby Charlton then set the tone for a series of United fightbacks in this fixture by making it 2-2.
United lost 3-2 at home to Athletic Club in last term's Europa League round of 16 and have won only one of their last five Old Trafford fixtures against Liga visitors – the 1-0 Champions League semifinal success over FC Barcelona in 2008, courtesy of a Scholes goal. Their overall home record against Spanish opponents is W8 D9 L3.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side went down 1-0 to CFR 1907 Cluj in their last European home outing, albeit with qualification already secured. They had previously beaten Galatasaray and SC Braga.
United have won nine of the 12 Uefa competition ties in which they recorded a first-leg away draw, including three where the score in the first match was 1-1: against Willem II (1963/64 European Cup Winners' Cup preliminary round, 6-0 second leg); AS Saint-Étienne (1977/78 European Cup Winners' Cup first round, 2-0 second leg); and Olympique Lyonnais (2007/08 Uefa Champions League round of 16, 1-0 second leg).
Under Jose Mourinho, Madrid have lost just two of 15 away fixtures in the UefaChampions League. They drew 1-1 at Manchester City in the group stage, Karim Benzema scoring their goal. Overall, their record in England is W4 D3 L5.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal when Madrid last won in England, 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur in the 2010/11 quarterfinals.
Madrid have been held at home in the first leg of eight previous Uefa competition ties – all in the European Cup – and have recorded only one aggregate victory, against United in 1999/2000. They have drawn 1-1 at home four times and subsequently been eliminated in every tie, most recently by FC Dynamo Kyiv in the 1998/99 quarterfinals (0-2 away).
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Uefa Champions League statistics
• United's next draw will be their 50th in the Uefa Champions League, group stage to final.
• United's 3-2 victory over SC Braga on matchday three was the second time they have come from two down to win a Champions League game. The first was a 3-2 win against Juventus in the 1998/99 semifinals.
• Ryan Giggs has scored in a record 16 Champions League seasons, though not yet this one. He is also the competition's oldest scorer, at 37 years and 289 days. The Welshman has found the net in all 21 Premier League seasons.
• Rafael and Robin van Persie are a booking away from a ban.
In: Ben Amos, Jesse Lingard
Out: Darren Fletcher, Scott Wootton (Peterborough United , loan), Federico Macheda (VfB Stuttgart, loan), Davide Petrucci (Peterborough United FC, loan)
Fletcher will be out until the summer after having surgery in January to cure the bowel condition that caused him to miss a large part of last season.
United signed Wilfried Zaha in a €12m deal from Crystal Palace but the 20-year-old will remain with the second-tier club until the summer.
• Shinji Kagawa became the first player from Asia to score a Premier League hat-trick on Saturday as United beat Norwich City FC 4-0.
• Giggs, who on Friday signed a deal that keeps him at Old Trafford next season, has made 999 competitive appearances since making his debut on 2 March 1991 in a 2-0 loss to Everton. He is set to become only the third British outfield player to reach the 1 000-game mark, after Tony Ford and Graeme Alexander.
• United are 18 games unbeaten in all competitions since rounding off the group stage with a 1-0 loss to CFR Cluj, winning 14. During that time they have stretched their lead at the Premier League summit from three points into double figures and booked a place in the FA Cup quarterfinals, where they will host Chelsea on 10 March.
• Sir Alex's team have trailed in 18 of their 40 matches this term, but lost only six.
• Only one team in Premier League history have gained more points from their opening 28 games than United's 71 this season – Chelsea had 72 in 2005/06.
• United have failed to convert five of their nine penalties this season, from Nani, Van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney (2).
Uefa Champions League statistics
• Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho are two of only four coaches to reach a century of Champions League games, along with Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti.
• Cristiano Ronaldo is the joint top scorer after seven matches with seven goals, level with Burak Yilmaz. The Portuguese international has found the net 16 times in his last 14 Champions League appearances.
• Ronaldo, who has played every minute of Madrid's campaign, has had 31 attempts on target and 15 wide, both more than any other player. Madrid have had more shots on goal (88) and wide (60) than any other team.
• Angel Di Maria has provided five assists, the joint highest total along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
• At 17 years and 353 days, Jose Rodriguez surpassed Raul Gonzalez as Madrid's youngest ever European Cup player on matchday six.
• Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos are within a booking of a ban.
In: Diego Lopez (Sevilla), Casemiro (Sao Paulo, loan)
Out: Denis Cheryshev, Juanfran
• Madrid have won four out of four since the first leg, having managed just six victories in their previous 14 games, the United draw included.
• Alvaro Morata, making only his third start for Madrid, set up Karim Benzema's sixth-minute opener in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Barcelona.
• Madrid have scored 103 goals in 43 games this season, including the Spanish Super Cup. They managed 174 in 58 outings last term.
• Initially rested on Saturday, Ronaldo scored twice as Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Camp Nou last Tuesday, a 4-2 aggregate win sending them through to May's Copa del Rey final, where they will meet Club Atletico de Madrid.
It will be the fifth Madrid derby final and first since Atlético prevailed 2-0 in 1992.
• Madrid have claimed three wins in six meetings with Barcelona this season, with two draws and one loss.
• Ramos marked his 250th Liga appearance against Rayo Vallecano de Madrid on 17 February with a goal (12 minutes) and a red card (18). With 16 dismissals, he has been sent off more than any other player in Madrid's history.
• Gonzalo Higuaín netted his 100th Liga goal in what was his 179th top-flight appearance for Madrid in the 2-1 win at Deportivo La Coruna on 23 February.
• Madrid are 36 games unbeaten in all competitions at the Bernabeu, since a 2-1 cup defeat by Barcelona on 18 January 2012.
• Iker Casillas has been out since breaking his left thumb on 23 January; Diego Lopez was signed as cover.