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The BBC's Ian Brown
"Real have the satisfaction of not conceding at home"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 4 April, 2000, 21:49 GMT 22:49 UK
Man Utd hold out against Real

Dwight Yorke sees his effort disallowed for off-side
Real Madrid 0-0 Man Utd

Manchester United gained a vital edge in their Champions League quarter-final as they stood firm against Real Madrid in the first leg in Spain - thanks to an excellent display from goalkeeper Mark Bosnich.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team now return home to Old Trafford knowing victory in the second game will take them through the last four.



I think there's a sense of relief with the result of a draw, because I think it was one of our poorest performances in the big games over the last few years

Sir Alex Ferguson
Both teams created a string of chances in one of European football's more entertaining goalless games.

Real dominated possession, with England's Steve McManaman and captain Redondo prompting from midfield and Brazil's Roberto Carlos constantly testing United from long-range.

Former Liverpool star McManaman, who appeared to relish the chance of renewing hostilities against the English champions, should have given Real a vital lead nine minutes from time, but he hit his point-blank shot straight at Bosnich.

Indeed the United keeper was at the top of his game all night and kept out everything the Spaniards threw at him.

The visitors themselves were always dangerous on the counter-attack, with David Beckham and Roy Keane influential in midfield and Andy Cole a liverwire presence up front.



Neither side were able to take control of the game
And United actually had the ball in the net for the only time in the match, but Dwight Yorke's close-range effort was ruled out for off-side in first-half injury time.

Ryan Giggs recovered from his hamstring injury and took his place in the United starting line-up.

Manager Ferguson had suggested the Welsh winger would miss the first leg of the quarter-final.

But he was named in the United team for the game in the Bernabeu Stadium - sparking suspicions that the "injury" was merely a well-rehearsed tactic from Ferguson, who is renowned as an expert at managerial mind games.

The Spanish side made a confident start and Bosnich had to palm McManaman's diving header over the bar following Savio's searching cross.

But United gradually began to find their feet and Cole's low shot was saved by Real's 18-year-old keeper Iker Casillas after good work from Giggs.



The match brought together some of the biggest names in the game
Cole should have put the visitors in front after 26 minutes after Jaap Stam had flicked on David Beckham's corner, but the striker headed over at the back post.

Brazilian star Roberto Carlos was proving an instrumental figure for Real and he twice came close with sharp strikes.

And Bosnich did well to deny Raul after more neat build-up play from the impressive McManaman as the home side pushed on.

McManaman was a constant thorn in the United side and Denis Irwin was handed the first booking of the match when he hacked down the England man after a trademark run down the right.

Cole always looked United's most threatening striker in the first half and three minutes before the break he swept a first-time shot over the bar at the end of a flowing counter-attack.

United thought they had gone ahead in first-half stoppage time, but Yorke's strike was disallowed for off-side after Casillas failed to hold a Paul Scholes shot.



Giggs shrugged off a hamstring injury
Early in the second half Giggs almost produced a sensational goal reminiscent of his FA Cup semi-final strike against Arsenal last season - but after a wonderful, mazy run he was brought down on the edge of the area by Aitor Karanka, who was somewhat fortunate to escape with just a yellow card.

The game continued to ebb and flow and Bosnich again had to produce a finger-tipped save from Ivan Helguera's drive.

Roberto Carlos then saw a free-kick deflected wide and from the corner Helguera fluffed a good chance with his head.

Real were the most urgent side in the later stages, following the arrival of substitute Elvir Baljic, and he should have claimed a vital goal 12 minutes from time, but Bosnich again stood his ground.

And three minutes later the Australian keeper denied McManaman with his feet, the Englishman squandering a glorious opportunity after he had burst into the six-yard box.

Teams:

Real Madrid: Casillas, Salgado, Campo, Karanka, Carlos, McManaman, Helguera, Redondo, Savio, Morientes, Raul.
Subs: Illgner, Dorado, Baljic, Geremi, Karembeu, Ognjenovic, Aganzo.

Man Utd: Bosnich, G Neville, Berg, Stam, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Cole, Yorke.
Subs: Van Der Gouw, Butt, Sheringham, P. Neville, Cruyff, Solskjaer, Silvestre.

Referee: Gilles Veissiere (France)

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Links to other Champions League stories are at the foot of the page.