The Night Ronaldo’s Hat Trick Sunk Manchester United At Old Trafford


Hamish Woodward

The Night Ronaldo’s Hat Trick Sunk Manchester United At Old Trafford

The Second Half

Manchester United in red kick off the second half, scoring from right to left. They come out of the blocks immediately, keeping possession well before a mistake by the Madrid defence gives Solsjkaer two chances on goal from just outside the box. The first is blocked by the defender while the second is mis hit well over the bar. Sir Alex Ferguson’s team talk has seemed to invigorate his side.

United try to carve out a chance, and enjoy a dominant spell of possession for a few minutes, but the attack is broken down by Roberto Carlos, who begins a counter attack. The Brazilian finds Zidane, who is in the centre of the move as Madrid try to pass it round outside United’s box, trying to find an opening. A mishit shot by Figo finds Mcmananan, the ball finds it way to Zidane. He plays a one-two with Roberto Carlos, who finds Ronaldo in the centre of the six-yard box for an easy tap in, and Madrid take an early lead in the first half. Carlos caught the United defence napping, having acres of space to run into behind them, and no one was marking Ronaldo in the box. 2-1 Madrid 5 minutes into the first half and United need 4 goals to win this tie. It’s looking bleak.

United respond immediately to going down, as Veron forces an own goal from Los Blancos defender Hierro. Giggs finds Veron to the left of the 18 yard box, and his attempted pass to Van Nistelrooy in the box is hit off the Spanish defender and past Casillas into the net. A flicker of hope from United and Sir Alex Ferguson is still fuming on the side-lines, and just in general at life.

Both teams go full pelt after the United goal, as they look for a goal to take control of the game. Both teams enjoy possession in the middle of the park, but Madrid have a obvious penalty not given to them, as John O’Shea hacks down an oncoming Steve McManaman 10 minutes into the half, not even getting close to the ball. United counter attack quickly, Fabien Barthez’ throw eventually making it’s way to Solsjkaer, who hits a clear chance straight at the goal keeper. Veron comes close minutes later, a cross from Solsjkaer falling beautifully for him, as he strikes it cleanly straight into the back of a Madrid defender.

United knocking on the door

The sound of the crowd, as they get louder and louder cheering on the home side, seem to frazzle Los Blancos, as they misplace some short passes which get intercepted by United. It leads to nothing but a foul by Veron but a telling sign of things to come perhaps.

Then Ronaldo decides “Actually I’m done lets just take this home Beckham you are shit stay on the bench” as he thwacks a big old smacker right into the top corner on the counter attack. A mazy run finding himself space and just absolutely leathered it past Barthez, who had no chance of saving it. He has had little to do with the ball in this game, but everything he touches turns to goals. Madrid lead 3 to 2 in this game, and 6-2 in the tie overall, as the game looks over for United.

About 20 Minutes in and the miraculous sight of David Beckham warming up can be seen. After all that happened between Fergie and himself, you know things must be getting desperate. Veron is off for the United number 7, who slots in on the right hind side, changing to a 4-4-2 with Solsjkaer up front with Van Nistelrooy. 25 minutes left for the England midfielder to make an impact and score 5 goals, ideally. And on that note, Ronaldo is off with a standing ovation after his hat trick, replaced by professional footballer I assume, Solari.

Beckham makes his mark

Beckhams inclusion is already apparently, his long balls forward towards the strikers are already looking promising.

And it looks even more promising with a trademark Beckham free kick. It takes him no time at all the make his mark on the game with this equaliser, 25 yards out and to the right hand side. He curls it around the wall and past the keeper with ease, and United only need 3 more goals to win this tie. Only 3. In 20 minutes.

And it all almost came crashing down before it began, as Solari has a clear cut chance, from a backheel from Figo and a pass from Zidane left him open on the left, and somehow missed the goal completely. Luckily for him the flag was up for offside, but that would’ve been it for the United fight back.

And Beckham then scores his second! Much less spectacular this time I must admit. Van Nistlerooys shot was well saved by Casillas, which then ricocheted off Hierro for Beckham to slide in on the line to make the score 4-3.

Minutes later Van Nistelrooy and Giggs come close again for United, their shots saved by the keeper. United keep battling on until the final whistle, attacking with all they have, Beckham coming close with a  free kick, but to no avail.

After 4 minutes of Injury time and United win 4-3, but go out 6-4 on aggregate. A wonderful with 7 goals and end to end stuff, and definitely one to watch in isolation, if not just to see Zidane doing Zidane things.

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