Real, Dortmund through to quarters
Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund became the first teams through to the Champions League quarterfinals with contrasting wins over Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
Real came from behind to win 2-1 at Old Trafford and advance 3-2 on aggregate after a controversial red card for winger Nani rocked United early in the second half, while Dortmund swept to a 3-0 home win to go through 5-2.
Real, held 1-1 in the first leg at the Bernabeu, trailed to a Sergio Ramos own goal just after the break but scored twice in three minutes soon after Nani was shown a shock straight red after his high foot caught Alvaro Arbeloa in the 56th minute.
Real’s Luka Modric came off the bench to curl in a lovely shot in the 66th minute and former United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo slid in the second to silence the crowd and keep Madrid on course for a 10th European Cup.
Dortmund, who topped their qualifying group above Real, were well-placed at 2-2 after the opener in Ukraine and took complete control with first-half goals by Felipe Santana and Mario Goetze before Jakub Blaszczykowski completed the job after an hour.
There are two more last 16 matches on Wednesday with Juventus taking a 3-0 lead into their home game against Celtic while Paris St Germain take on Valencia in France 2-1 up.
The remaining four games are being played next week and the draw for the quarterfinals will take place on March 15.
The red card came as a total surprise and was the start of a terrible 13-minute spell that doomed the home side to defeat as Real, trailing 1-0, struck twice in three minutes through Luka Modric and Ronaldo to seal Real’s place in the last eight.
Substitute Modric, only been on the field for seven minutes, lashed in Real’s equaliser from 20 metres after 66 minutes and Ronaldo slid in at the far post three minutes later to turn in a cross from Gonzalo Higuain and seal Real’s place in the last eight.
“Independent of the decision, the best team lost,” Real coach Jose Mourinho told ITV. “We didn’t play well, we didn’t deserve to win, but football is like this.
“I am not sure about the decision, but independent of that, the best team lost.”
Mourinho told Spanish television TVE he was disappointed by the performance.
“I am happy that we are through but I expected more from my team,” he said.
“When your goalkeeper is the best player on the pitch and you are playing against 10 men then that shows you are not controlling the match as you should.
“But you have to know how to suffer and how to win under those circumstances.”
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was too upset to speak to the press.
“I don’t think the manager is any fit state to talk to the referee. It speaks volumes I am sitting here now not the manager,” assistant manager Mile Phelan said.
“It’s a very distraught dressing room and a very distraught manager. That’s why I am sitting here now.”
Nani certainly had his foot high as he challenged for the ball with Arbeloa, but did not see the Spaniard behind him and had his eye on the ball throughout the incident.
Ferguson raced down from his seat to remonstrate on the touchline with the officials and went storming down to the pitch after the match ended.
United players surrounded the referee at the end with Rio Ferdinand sarcastically clapping in his face, and although the decision badly affected United, at that stage, they were still leading with 34 minutes to play.
Mourinho, though, quickly changed the shape of his side in the wake of the dismissal, introducing Modric who had a huge influence, while Ferguson, did not bring on Wayne Rooney until 17 minutes from the end when United were 2-1 down.
Mourinho could become the first man to lift the trophy with three different clubs after his earlier successes with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.
“I did my job which was to help Real Madrid win and stay alive in the Champions League,” Ronaldo said.
“I am very happy for my team but it was a very strange feeling tonight and in the first leg.
“I spent six years here and probably it will be the same if I ever go back to Real Madrid and play against them.
“The feelings you have for people who treat you well are a unique thing and it was a special day for me to return to my second home and spend time with my friends.
“But the most important thing was that Real Madrid won and inside I am very happy but also sad for United.”