Update: Manchester United 1-2 Real Madrid, final. Madrid progress to Champions League quarterfinals.
It's halftime at Old Trafford and there's no doubt that Manchester United will be the happier side with the current 0-0 scoreline.
Madrid were not necessarily the better side in the opening quarter hour of the match but they definitely controlled the flow of the game. Not that it mattered too much since they failed to generate a good chance on goal. Cristiano Ronaldo had a dangerous free kick opportunity in the 4th minute but his attempt bounced right off the United wall.
Gonzalo Higuain nearly had a moment of individual brilliance in the 11th minute somehow managing to create some space at the top of the United penalty area despite having to dribble around at least four United player. Ultimately his shot went well wide, but it was an impressive effort.
After a fairly calm opening 15 minutes that were dominated by Real Madrid, Manchester United awoke thanks in large part to the speed and creativity of Danny Welbeck. The young speedster made several runs into the attacking third that led to corner kicks for United. He nearly scored a goal in the 20th minute, jumping on a Nemanja Vidic header that hit off the post, but he was ruled offside by the linesman.
Madrid wrestled back control after the 30 minute mark putting together some good passes and taking the pressure on their defense for a few minutes.
Robin Van Persie came ever so close to giving United the lead in the 34th minute. Van Persie fought off Raphael Varane before bringing down the ball and turning to unleash a quick shot that Diego Lopez didn't deal with all that well, leaving a rebound. Van Persie went for the loose ball but Lopez recovered quickly and charged down the striker, blocking his attempt out for a corner.
Ángel Di María was forced off a few minutes before halftime after picking up a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Kaka.
Sir Alex Ferguson will be happy with the first half. His team was excellent at limited Madrid's attacking chances and they negated Ronaldo's effect. He probably would have enjoyed seeing his team finish one of their chances but as Madrid needs to score and United doesn't, there's not much to complain about so far.
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