Route to Rome

Manchester United's route to the UEFA Champions League final

Last updated: 26th May 2009  

Route to Rome

Rome time: United celebrate victory at the Emirates

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There have been one or two blips on the road to Rome but Manchester United are safely there. We look at the Red Devils' route to this year's UEFA Champions League final.

GROUP E

Man Utd 0 Villarreal 0 (September 17)

United kicked off their defence of their Champions League crown with a stalemate at Old Trafford notable mainly for Cristiano Ronaldo's first appearance since last season's final. Both teams can count themselves unlucky not to have snatched a victory as Guille Franco saw his effort rebound off the inside of the post while Jonny Evans' point-blank header also rattled the woodwork.

AAB Aalborg 0 Man Utd 3 (September 30)

United strolled to victory in Denmark courtesy of Wayne Rooney's strike and a Dimitar Berbatov double. The Bulgarian got off the mark for his new club 10 minutes into the second half and lashed home an acrobatic second 11 minutes from time, while the Red Devils also had a Carlos Tevez effort ruled out for offside.

Man Utd 3 Celtic 0 (October 21)

Another Berbatov brace saw United secure a second consecutive 3-0 victory. He pounced either side of half-time before Rooney added another in the 76th minute to see United earn a comfortable victory in the Battle of Britain.

Celtic 1 Man Utd 1 (November 5)

Celtic thought they had secured their first win of their campaign courtesy of Scott McDonald's brilliant lob in the 13th minute. However, with six minutes remaining, goalkeeper Artur Boruc could only parry Ronaldo's drive and Ryan Giggs headed home to break Scottish hearts.

Villarreal 0 Man Utd 0 (November 25)

Both sides mathematically secured their place in the knockout stages with their fourth goalless draw in as many meetings. Ronaldo, who hit the bar in the first half, enjoyed his best performance since coming back from injury and the Portugal star created havoc in the Villarreal defence all night. Joan Capdevila was sent off for a rash tackle in the 82nd minute.

Man Utd 2 AAB Aalborg 2 (December 10)

It seemed set to be business as usual when Carlos Tevez opened the scoring in the third minute but first-half goals from Michael Jakobsen and Jeppe Curth gave the hosts a scare. Rooney equalised seven minutes into the second half to ensure United remained unbeaten.

LAST 16

Inter Milan 0 Man Utd 0 (February 24)

Sir Alex Ferguson will probably be scratching his head as to how his team did not put the result of the tie beyond doubt at the San Siro. United battered the Nerazzurri goal for 90 minutes, but wayward shooting coupled with an exceptional performance from Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar kept the tie scoreless. The result did see United set a new Champions League record as it marked their 20th game without defeat.

Man Utd 2 Inter Milan 0, aggregate 2-0 (March 11)

Nemanja Vidic made up for missing the first leg of the tie (following his red card in the World Club Championship) by heading United into the lead after just four minutes. Inter had several chances to get back into the tie before Ronaldo's 49th-minute header ensured Ferguson got the better of his old adversary Jose Mourinho for the first time.

QUARTER-FINALS

Man Utd 2 Porto 2 (April 7)

An 89th-minute equaliser from substitute Mariano left United with everything to do in the second leg. Porto had stunned Old Trafford by taking the lead through Cristian Rodriguez's fourth-minute strike before Rooney levelled matters 11 minutes later. United thought they had snatched a win when Tevez fired home with five minutes left but Mariano scored even later to secure a deserved draw.

Porto 0 Man Utd 1 (April 15), aggregate 2-3

United needed something special if they were to become the first English team to win at Porto and progress to the semi-finals and it was fitting that it came from World Player of the Year Ronaldo. The former Sporting Lisbon player lashed home an unstoppable 40-yard strike in the sixth minute.

SEMI-FINALS

Man Utd 1 Arsenal 0 (April 29)

Just as they had done in the first knockout stage against Inter, United dominated the first leg but did not get the result their performance deserved. John O'Shea's first-half goal giving them the slenderest of advantages in the all-English semi-final after a man-of-the-match performance from Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

Arsenal 1 Man Utd 3, aggregate 1-4 (May 5)

Arsenal were dead and buried after just 11 minutes as Ji-Sung Park's strike and a 40-yard free-kick special from Ronaldo effectively put the tie beyond reach. A lightning counter-attack on the hour mark started and finished by Ronaldo had the Arsenal fans streaming for the exits and few witnessed Robin van Persie's consolation from the penalty spot. That was the only black spot on a magnificent night for United as the referee judged Darren Fletcher's foul harsh enough to warrant a red card and the midfielder will miss the final in Rome.