Roma destroyed by United's seven-goal wonder

Old Trafford, Manchester – 10/04/2007 – Quarter-finals
Man. United
Man. United
Carrick 11, 60 Smith 17 Rooney 19 Cristiano Ronaldo 44, 49 Evra 81
7 - 1
  • De Rossi 69
Touch of genius

"I've never seen a performance like it. It wasn't that Roma played badly; we were just very good." Edwin van der Sar


• Roy Makaay struck the fastest goal in the competition's history – after 10.12 seconds – during the second leg of FC Bayern München's round of 16 tie against Real Madrid CF in Germany.

• At 38 years and 332 days, Paolo Maldini became the oldest titleholder in UEFA Champions League history as Italian side AC Milan won the competition for a record-equalling third time.

• FC Spartak Moskva (22) and AEK Athens FC (21) ended the longest winless runs in the competition's history, respectively beating Sporting Clube de Portugal 3-1 and LOSC Lille Métropole 1-0.

Having lost the first leg 2-1 in Italy, Manchester United FC knew they needed a strong performance to overcome AS Roma in the return but not even Sir Alex Ferguson, who had said beforehand "we will score", can have predicted the deluge of goals that would flow at Old Trafford. It carried his side through to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

In a match graced by so many good goals it is hard to pick the best of them, but Michael Carrick's first of the night was certainly the most important as it evened the tie on aggregate and settled the nerves of a side that had not overturned a first-leg deficit in Europe since 1984.

Eleven minutes had gone when the England midfielder received Cristiano Ronaldo's pass some 25 metres out and unleashed a curling shot before Doni could set himself. Ahead on the night and on away goals, United's confidence grew as they doubled their lead six minutes later after a flowing move involving Gabriel Heinze and Ryan Giggs, whose pass Alan Smith rifled in on the half-volley.

As Roma came forward in search of their away goal, they were caught on the break by the pace of Ronaldo and Giggs, and the latter was again the provider when his cross was met at the far post by Wayne Rooney. And still the English side came, and a minute before the interval that man Giggs completed a hat-trick of assists, feeding Ronaldo who lashed a low drive in at the near post.

United were rampant. Ronaldo doubled his quota for the night shortly after half-time when Giggs (who else?) picked him out at the far post after Roma failed to clear a corner. Carrick grabbed a second himself with an arrowing shot into the top corner, and though Roma scored through Daniele De Rossi's smart strike, United had the last word, Patrice Evra firing in low off the near post.

"I've never seen a performance like that in my life," said United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. "It wasn't that Roma played badly; we were just very, very good." Nobody at Old Trafford could contest that.

Star players

  • Rooney

    "The best young player this country has seen in 30 years", was sir Alex Ferguson's assessment of Rooney when Manchester United FC signed him from Everton FC in August 2004. Then the youngest scorer in Premier League history, he struck an audacious hat-trick on his United debut – a 6-2 UEFA Champions League group stage win against Fenerbahçe SK – and won the competition in 2008. He has four English titles to his name.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo

    Ronaldo caught the eye of Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson after only 11 league starts for Sporting Clube de Portugal. The Portugal winger settled gradually before finding consistency in 2006/07 – the first of three successive Premier League titles. Ronaldo struck 42 club goals as United also won the UEFA Champions League the following term. He joined Real Madrid CF for a world record €94m in summer 2009 and reached 50 Liga goals in 51 games.

  • Carrick

    A ball-playing midfielder from Newcastle, Carrick started out at West Ham United FC, before joining Tottenham Hotspur FC, but it was a €27m switch to Manchester United FC in 2006 that launched his career. In approaching 200 appearances as the central pivot of United's midfield, England international Carrick has collected four English top-flight titles and the 2008 UEFA Champions League.

What happened next?

• Manchester United FC defeated another Italian side, AC Milan, 3-2 at home in the semi-finals, but Carlo Ancelotti's charges won the return 3-0 to seal a trip to Athens for the final.

• Sir Alex Ferguson's men went on to win the first of three successive Premier League titles and their 16th in total, although they were denied the double by Chelsea FC in May's FA Cup final.

• The following month Roma would find out what it was like to be on the right end of a high-scoring tie, overwhelming FC Internazionale Milano 7-4 on aggregate in the Coppa Italia final.

• United beat Roma again in the quarter-finals the following season, 3-0 on aggregate this time, and went on to win their third European Cup, beating Chelsea in the final in Moscow.

• Ancelotti swapped Milan for Chelsea in June 2009 and in his first season guided the Blues to the title, edging out United by a solitary point. He was sacked the following May.


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