• Champions League

Fergie: Ronaldo struggled to play against us

ESPN staff
February 13, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson said he thought playing against Manchester United proved difficult for Cristiano Ronaldo despite the Real Madrid striker scoring an important equaliser in their Champions League last-16 tie, which finished 1-1.

United took an early lead through Danny Welbeck when he nodded Wayne Rooney's corner past Diego Lopez but Ronaldo replied against his former club, heading home an equaliser.

Robin van Persie hit the bar for United in the second half and had a mishit shot cleared off the line by Xabi Alonso while David De Gea saved well from Fabio Coentrao and Angel Di Maria.

Ferguson was pleased with the result but said his former charge found it tricky coming up against his old club.

He told Sky Sports: "I think it was difficult for [Ronaldo] playing against us. What a header, unbelievable. You cant stop that, he springs and holds himself in the air.

"He was still a big threat for them. When he gets the ball you're praying more than anything. We've got a big task but its within our grasp."

Ferguson said the game had panned out as he had expected. "There were a lot of incidents, chances at both ends," he added. "De Gea made three or four good saves. We've missed some great chances ourselves, their keeper has made two great saves.

"The disappointing part was in the first half we sat off them too much, they got some play on the edge of our box and that's not healthy. We changed it round at half-time and that made a difference in terms of the ebb of the game.

"All in all we created a lot of chances in the match and played some good attacking football at times. I've got to be pleased, they've dug in to take us back to Old Trafford with a chance. We've got a big task but its within our grasp."

Van Persie had a quiet evening but still had three clear cut chances, the biggest of which came when a Michael Carrick header found him completely unmarked and onside 12 yards out, but he scuffed his volley and watched as Alonso raced back to clear.

He said: "It could have gone either way. We had a couple of good chances but if you said 1-1 before the game most of us would take it. It is a good result. A great game to watch.

"I had three chances in the second half, especially one just after I hit the bar - I should put that in. I didn't hit it properly, with a bit of luck it could have gone in.

"We have a slight advantage. At this level I dont think these kind of teams care if they play home or away. It is half time now and we will be ready for the second leg."

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