UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid 1 Manchester United 1
By Football News
Cristiano Ronaldo netted against former club Manchester United as Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw in their Champions League last-16 clash.
Danny Welbeck opened the scoring for the Premier League leaders with a 20th-minute header to deliver United a crucial away goal in Wednesday's first leg in Madrid.
Ronaldo equalised with a header of his own 10 minutes later to set up a finely balanced second leg when Real travel to Old Trafford on March 5.
Ronaldo came up against United for the first time since leaving for the capital club in 2009, but he could not find a second goal as the Spanish giants' prospects of a landmark 10th European title were dented.
Robin van Persie almost made it a perfect night for Sir Alex Ferguson's side 18 minutes from time but was denied twice in matter of seconds - first by the crossbar and then Xabi Alonso's goal-line clearance.
Fabio Coentrao almost put Real ahead after just five minutes at the Bernabeu but his right-footed shot from 16 yards was tipped on to the far post by United goalkeeper David De Gea.
After settling in to the game, United took the lead with their first real opportunity with the easiest of goals as they took advantage of Real's fragility from set-pieces.
Wayne Rooney whipped in a corner from the left and as the home defenders stood and watched, Welbeck rose to head into the bottom corner to send the 4,000 United supporters into delirium.
Real countered immediately as Ronaldo and Mezut Oezil in particular caused the visitors problems with their movement in the final third.
On the half-hour mark, Ronaldo levelled the scoreline with a trademark header. Angel Di Maria played in an inviting cross from the left and the Portuguese rose high, craned his neck and headed the ball into the corner.
Both teams continued to search for a second goal, Welbeck flicking an inventive effort just wide from a Van Persie cross before Oezil forced De Gea into a sharp save.
The steady stream of attacks continued after the interval, with Di Maria firing just wide before De Gea was again United's saving grace, the Spaniard producing an unorthodox save with his feet to kick away Fabio Coentrao's volley.
At the other end, Van Persie went agonisingly close for United twice in the space of a minute, first seeing his right-footed shot cannon off the crossbar via the faintest glove from Diego Lopez, before the Dutchman's scuffed volley was cleared off the line by Alonso.
There was still time for Ronaldo to fizz a trademark free-kick just over the crossbar from 35 yards but United held on for a result that leaves them well-placed to reach the quarter-finals.