AC Milan and Real Madrid crashed out of the Champions League (UPDATED)

Other News Materials 11 March 2010 02:14 (UTC +04:00)
Manchester United eased into the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday, a 4-0 win at Old Trafford giving them a 7-2 aggregate victory.
AC Milan and Real Madrid crashed out of the Champions League (UPDATED)

Manchester United eased into the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday, a 4-0 win at Old Trafford giving them a 7-2 aggregate victory, dpa reported.

As in the first leg, Wayne Rooney was the key presence, scoring United's first two goals, before Park Ji-Sung and Darren Fletcher added further goals.

AC Milan, although they had long spells of possession, were made to look pedestrian, and there was almost a sense of anti-climax about the ease of United's victory.

Milan midfielder David Beckham, whose return to Old Trafford after seven years was such a feature of the build-up, was left on the bench and arrived after 64 minutes, by which time his team was already out of the tie.

The early minutes brought Milan some hope, but it was soon extinguished.

Ronaldinho headed just wide after six minutes as Andrea Pirlo's cross glanced off Nani, wrong-footing United's defence.

Tiago Silva then picked out an unmarked Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at the back post, only for the Dutch forward's touch to let him down.

Gary Neville was included primarily to close down Ronaldinho, but he showed his attacking capacity as well.

He sent an early shot dipping just over, and then it was from his cross that Rooney headed United into a 13th-minute lead - his sixth headed goal in a row.

Milan's belief almost visibly drained from them at that, and the game rather drifted to half-time, with the away side dominating possession and United comfortably holding them.

Darren Fletcher almost extended their lead just before the break with a 25-yard drive that flew just wide.

Clarence Seedorf, who scored Milan's second in the first leg, came on for Daniele Borero off at half-time, but within a minute United had gone two up.

Nani, this time, was the creator, jabbing a pass infield for Rooney, who clipped a calm finish past Christian Abbiati, his 30th goal of the season.

Park slid in the third from a cleverly disguised ball from Paul Scholes just before the hour.

Beckham arrived four minutes later, and sent one ferocious volley straight at Edwin van der Sar, but by then the game had the feel of an exhibition.

Fletcher headed in a Rafael cross to complete the scoring in the 88th minute.

In other match of the day Olympique Lyon battled their way into the quarter- finals of the Champions League with a defiant 1-1 draw away to Real Madrid.

Teenager Miralem Pjanic was Lyon's hero with a late equalizer, after Cristiano Ronaldo had given Real an early lead.

Lyon go into the quarters on a 2-1 aggregate, since they won the first leg 1-0 at home, thanks to a goal from Jean Makoun.

This is the sixth successive season that Real have gone out in the round of 16. The elimination this year is particularly bad news because of their record-breaking summer spending spree - plus the fact that the final will be staged in their own Estadio Bernabeu.

Lyon's Argentine forward cesar Delgado said that "this was a great team performance from us, we really worked hard for this."

Veteran Real playmaker Guti, in contrast, commented that "we played more like a group of individuals than a team...They came forward in the second half, and we didn't know how to deal with them."

He admitted that "this is a painful defeat," and finished by saying that "we always seem to let ourselves down on the big occasions in Europe."

Former Real star Rafael Martin Vazquez, analyzing the game on television, said that "football is a collective effort and Lyon were the better team tonight...No matter how many great individuals you have, it is still a team game."

The match could not have started better for the hosts, with Ronaldo putting them ahead after just six minutes with a low left- foot drive, after being set up by a glorious pass from Guti.

It was Ronaldo's seventh goal in the competition and it set the Bernabeu alight with hope.

Lyon looked shell-shocked and Real should have increased their lead in a one-sided first half.

In the 25th minute the wasteful Gonzalo Higuain hit the post after skipping around keeper Hugo Lloris.

Lyon looked more poised and purposeful in the second half, partly because of the introduction of strong midfielders Kim Kallstrom and Maxime Gonalons.

The killer blow came to Real came 14 minutes from time. Lisandro Lopez cleverly flicked a ball from Delgado on to Pjanic, and the 19 year-old made it 1-1 with a calm left-foot shot from close range.

Real stormed forward in search of an unlikely miracle, leaving massive gaps at the back. Lopez and Delgado both missed excellent chances to put Lyon ahead, but the French side were soon celebrating the final whistle anyway.