United held by Ronaldo equaliser

Salisbury Journal: Cristiano Ronaldo scored a first-half equaliser against Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldo scored a first-half equaliser against Manchester United

Danny Welbeck's first-half header ensured Manchester United left the Bernabeu with a precious away goal from a thrilling 1-1 Champions League encounter with Real Madrid.

But United old boy Cristiano Ronaldo also left his mark on the last-16 tie with a brilliant equalising header. Ronaldo also came close with a dipping 40-yard free-kick, whilst David de Gea needed to produce excellent saves to twice deny Fabio Coentrao and the outstanding Mesut Ozil.

With their bewildering movement, Real had the capacity to cut their opponents' defence to shreds. Rafael in particular had a torrid time as Ronaldo roamed the visitors' defence, with Ozil providing impressive support.

Angel Di Maria cut inside from his right-wing station and flashed a shot wide before De Gea brilliantly denied Coentrao with a fingertip save to push the full-back's effort onto the post.

On their first meaningful attack, United got their noses in front. Welbeck shrugged off Sergio Ramos' attentions, them climbed to turn home Wayne Rooney's corner from six yards.

The pity for United was that their lead lasted just 10 minutes. That Ronaldo should get the equaliser was no shock at all given his tally of 182 goals in 179 games for the Spanish giants prior to this showdown. The way he hung above Patrice Evra before heading Di Maria's cross past De Gea was reminiscent of the Portugal superstar's goal for United in the 2008 final.

His reaction was subdued. He was mobbed by ecstatic team-mates and he emerged from the huddle to wave at the Madrid fans before an almost apologetic hand was waved at the visitors' bench.

In the second period, United had De Gea to thank for not falling behind. He was the only one alive to the danger as Coentrao crept in at the far post to meet Sami Khedira's deep cross, instinctively kicking the ball away from his goal-line.

Throughout all the mayhem, Robin van Persie had been a peripheral figure. It looked like his moment had arrived 15 minutes from time though when, after Diego Lopez had touched his effort onto a post, the Dutchman found himself on his own inside the box as Michael Carrick headed the ball back in.

As Lopez lunged in desperately, Van Persie tried to volley in, only to mis-hit the shot, allowing Xabi Alonso to clear off the line.

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