As United fans got used to the sight of Sir Alex Ferguson sitting in the stands - and enjoying the odd Mexican-wave - it was left to Captain Marvel to try and overhaul the 3-2 deficit from the first leg at the Bernabeu.
Unlike a testimonial, the game was played with the spike of a true competitive match, and although Zinadine Zidane ‘fluffed’ his first kick of the ball, it did not take the Frenchman legend long to find his touch and provide the spectators with a tantalising dual with the recently retired Paul Scholes. All over the pitch both sets of legends provided the 60,000 strong crowd with their specialty bests. For the Reds, Van der Sar pulled off some superb saves, his Dutch compatriot and crowd’s favourite Jaap Stam provided his trademark crunching tackles and Cole and Yorke reminded the crowd why their partnership could be so lethal. It was the great Claude Makelele, however, who linked up with former team-mate Zidane to pave the way for Fernando Morientes to strike the opener for Madrid.
As the second half commenced, Ruud van Nistelrooy switched shirts to join the Reds, reigniting the chant of ‘Ruud, Ruud, Ruud’, while Steve McManaman shouldered a chorus of pantomime boos as he took to the field for Madrid. Ruud’s welcome back into the Manchester United fold brought with it the Red’s best half of the game as the Dutch man scored a thunderous equaliser. The game looked poised for a United victory until the legends of Real showed their class, and echoing this season’s Champions League result, left Old Trafford with a 2-1 victory as Ruben de la Red finished off a superb Real counteract.
£1 million was raised by Red Heart United and all proceeds will go to the Manchester United Foundation, to help fund projects that benefit young people in disadvantaged areas of Greater Manchester.
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