Champions League: Manchester United's greatest ties

Keane tackles Zidane on United's last visit to the Bernabeu

Did you yelp with excitement when Manchester United drew Real Madrid in the Champions League? As Sir Alex Ferguson's men prepare to go to the Spanish capital for Wednesday's mouthwatering first leg, Max Liu whets the appetite with five of United's greatest ties. Warning Red Devils fans: you didn't win em' all...

Manchester United v Juventus - 1999

United needed a Ryan Giggs injury-time goal to earn a 1-1 draw in the first leg of this semi-final at Old Trafford. They looked dead and buried in Turin as Juve stormed in to a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes, thanks to Filippo Inzaghi's brace. But cometh the hour, cometh Keano: after the United captain headed in, he received a booking, which would rule him out of the final, but he drove the Reds on as Dwight Yorke equalised and Andy Cole made it 3-2. United won the final a month later in even more dramatic style, but Keane's self-sacrifice and endeavour immortalised him as the ultimate United team player. The odds on Wednesday's match ending 2-3? 46.045/1 

Real Madrid v Manchester United - 2003

In 2003, Ronaldo was a portly Brazilian who, after winning the World Cup on his own the previous summer, joined Real's Galacticos. At the Bernabeu, Figo chipped in the first, Raul scored two more and, even though Ruud van Nistelrooy nabbed an away goal, the gulf in class was striking. A fortnight later, United beat Madrid 4-3, thanks to two goals from substitute David Beckham. Ronaldo was given a standing ovation by home supporters for his brilliant hat-trick. Three months later, Beckham left for the Bernabeu and his red number seven shirt was inherited by another Ronaldo. The odds on a hat-trick in Wednesday's match? 4.3100/30

FC Porto v Manchester United

United were expected to breeze this tie against the Portuguese side and they were looking good when Quinton Fortune put them ahead early in the first leg. However, Benni McCarthy struck twice and, shortly before full-time, Roy Keane showed his dark side when he was sent off for stamping on Vitor Baia. Ferguson refused to shake his opposite number's hand, a gesture which would come back to haunt him in the second-leg when, after a sluggish performance, United conceded a late goal which saw them go out 3-2 on aggregate. The Porto boss, a relatively unknown, young manager named Jose Mourinho danced down the Old Trafford touchline and snubbed Ferguson at the final whistle. Will you back a sending off in Wednesday's match? 

Roma v Manchester United 

Roma, who ended the 2007 season as Serie A champions, were a daunting quarter-final proposition. They went ahead in the first leg at the Stadio Olimpico and things got even worse for United when Paul Scholes was sent off for a stupid challenge before half-time. However, they were resolute in the second-half and, although Wayne Rooney's equaliser was followed by Mirko Vucinic's winner, United went home still in the tie. Nobody was prepared for what happened two weeks later: Alan Smith and Darren Fletcher bossed the midfield, Michael Carrick scored a screamer, Rooney and Ronaldo ran riot and United trounced Francesco Totti and co. 7-1 on one of the Old Trafford's greatest European nights. The odds on both teams to score in Wednesday's match? 1.654/6  

Manchester United v Arsenal

This all-England semi-final was also settled by a devastating second leg display. United dominated the first leg but could only muster a single goal which was scored by John O'Shea. Going down to the Emirates Stadium on a warm, spring evening, the stage was set for unpredictable Arsenal to punish United's profligacy and reach their second final. Or perhaps not. Ronaldo terrorised the hosts' defence, aided by Rooney and the indefatigable Ji-Sung Park. The only black spot was the contentious red card that ruled Darren Fletcher out of the final. Arsenal's goalscorer in their 1-3 defeat? Robin van Persie who will, of course, be crucial to United's chances of beating Madrid. The odds on an away win in Wednesday's match? 5.49/2


Can you think of any Champions League ties involving United that top these five? If so, let us know below... 

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