Ronaldo rocket carries United to semi-finals
Porto, Portugal - A stunning goal from Cristiano Ronaldo gave Manchester United a 1-0 victory over Porto on Wednesday, taking them into the Champions League semi-final by a 3-2 aggregate.
No English side had ever won in the Dragao Stadium, but then none perhaps have ever been able to call on a player to capable of the spectacular as Ronaldo.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had publicly criticised the Portugal winger's attitude in the build-up to the game, and he could hardly have responded more positively.
No players has had more shots in the Champions League this season, making his return of a solitary goal look paltry.
But the doubts clearly hadn't affected Ronaldo.
Given space 40 metres from goal, he unleashed a thunderous shot that flashed across Helton and into the top right-corner.
That galvanised United, and they were far more controlled than they had been in the first leg.
Hulk, in particular, having caused such problems for United at Old Trafford, was subdued, perhaps because of the return of Rio Ferdinand after injury.
Bruno Alves put a header just wide, but that aside Porto, whose coach Jesualdo Ferreira was absent serving a touchline ban, were largely restricted to long-range efforts before half-time.
The best two chances of the first half, in fact, fell to United.
Ryan Giggs volleyed a Wayne Rooney cross powerfully but too close to Helton, and then a lunging Nemanja Vidic fired over after John O'Shea had flicked on a Ryan Giggs corner.
Ferguson said at half-time that his side would be seeking a second goal, but that rarely seemed likely.
His side were for the most part comfortable, playing the game at their tempo and in the Porto half, but the longer the game went on, the edgier United became.
Five years ago at Old Trafford in the last 16, United led Porto 1- 0 for a long period, a scoreline that would have taken them through on the away goals rule, only to be undone in the last minute.
The danger of a repeat was always possible, and a bad misjudgement from Edwin van der Sar with 13 minutes remaining gifted Raul Meireles a chance. He headed wide.
The best chance in injury-time, though, fell to Ronaldo, whose low drive was well saved by Helton.
United will face Arsenal in the semi-final, after Arsene Wenger's side beat Villarreal 3-0 to progress 4-1 on aggregate. (dpa)