Football: Ronaldo milestone and Milan exit cheer Fergie

5th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Cristiano Ronaldo took his goals tally for the season to 30 goals in 30 matches as Manchester United eased into the last eight.

   MANCHESTER, March 5, 2008  - Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted to see
Cristiano Ronaldo take his goals tally for the season to 30 goals in 30
matches as Manchester United eased into the last eight of the Champions League.
   He did not admit it, but the Scot was probably just as pleased to see
Arsenal knock holders AC Milan out of the tournament, removing an opponent
responsible for ending United's involvement in two out of the last three
   Ronaldo's close-range strike just before half-time secured a 1-0 win over
Lyon that sent United through 2-1 on aggregate.
   It also represented a little bit of history with United's tenth straight
Champions League victory at Old Trafford equalling the competition record for
consecutive home wins set by Juventus in 1997.
   "It probably was not Cristiano's best goal of the season, but it was one of
the most important," Ferguson said.
   "To score 30 goals is fantastic, but for a wide player to do that is even
more special. No other player in the world could do that. We are only at the
beginning of March, so we potentially have another 16-17 games ahead of us. He
could really achieve a good, high tally of goals."
   Arsenal and United's wins created a realistic possibility that the
quarter-finals could feature four English teams with Chelsea and Liverpool
both well-placed to progress.
   Ferguson insisted he would have no qualms about being drawn against
familiar opponents.
   "If the four of us get through, then we have a 40percent chance of getting
an English team in the quarter-finals, but I don't think that matters because
they are all difficult games at the quarter-final stage anyway.
   "Whatever happens, Old Trafford will be bulging and it will be a fantastic
atmosphere and a fantastic game. We've got the players to handle it, though,
and we have a great chance."
   Lyon kept United sweating until the end on Tuesday night in a match of few
   Ronaldo's decisive strike came four minutes before the break after Wes
Brown had overlapped on the right flank and driven in a low cross that
generated panic in the Lyon defence.
   After Anderson had stabbed the loose ball goalwards, Ronaldo pounced on it,
made himself half a yard of space and fired past goalkeeper Gregory Coupet.
   Lyon substitute Kader Keita came close to equalising with 17 minutes left.
After a neat one-two with Karim Benzema, the winger beat Edwin van der Sar at
his near post only to see his low drive come back off the upright.
   United squandered a couple of chances to kill the match but ultimately held
out fairly comfortably.
   "We should have made more of the chances and possession that we had,
especially in the second-half when we should have scored four or five,"
admitted Ferguson.
   "We made it difficult for ourselves and we were living on a knife-edge at
   "We were strong defensively, though, and Lyon did not create many chances,
but the important thing is that we are into the next round and that was the
objective of the game.
   "It is a real achievement, no question, to equal the record of Juventus by
winning ten consecutive home games."
   Lyon boss Alain Perrin said his side had been undone by the late equaliser
they conceded in the first leg.
   "When you look back in the cold light of the day, the tie was decided by
Carlos Tevez's goal in the first game. It was such a late goal, it not only
influenced the first game, it also proved crucial in the way that this one was
   "We tried to cause United more problems, but we could not get out of our
half often enough and I can't deny that United deserve to go through to the
next round."


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