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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty shot in Manchester United goalless draw with Barcelona

The favorite Manchester United blunted a inefficient Barcelona's attack to earn a 0-0 away draw in the opening encounter of their two-match Champions League semifinal.

Barcelona FC was last night held to a scoreless draw at the Camp Nou stadium for the first time in this season's tournament as the English champion frustrated an opponent that had almost two-thirds of the possession and three times as many direct shots.

"Although they had a lot of play on the edge of our box, they didn't have many chances," United manager sir Alex Ferguson expressed. "Going back to Old Trafford for the second leg nil-nil gives us a marvelous opportunity."

In fact, Manchester United will advance to the May 21 final in Moscow against Chelsea or Liverpool with a victory in next week's return match in Manchester, where it's on an 11-game winning streak in Europe's elite club tournament.

Alex Ferguson's side failed to seize the initiative in the third minute when Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty kick, awarded when the ball struck Gabriel Milito's arm in the area.

Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who's scored a tournament- leading 7 goals this season, side-footed wide from the spot in front of about 95,000 spectators at the stadium where United won its second European Cup title in 1999.

"The penalty was a big moment," blaugrana boss Frank Rijkaard admitted. "It's still open. Scoring one goal over there could be very important."

As we saw, Samuel Eto'o had several shots and Gianluca Zambrotta, Xavi Hernandez and Thierry Henry also tested Man. United goalie Edwin van der Sar.

Cristiano Ronaldo was United's main threat on the counterattack as Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez struggled to break out of their own half.

"I don't think we were fast enough, direct enough and we lost the ball just too much," Ferguson analized and concluded. "We usually play better but we had to defend more. We'll definitely attack more in the second leg."

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