Following the 1-1 draw from the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Real Madrid, Manchester United would have been happy to take an away goal from the Bernabeu.
But last night in Barcelona, Sir Alex Ferguson watched an emphatic Madrid side run out 3-1 winners on the night, and 4-2 over the two legs, of the Copa Del Rey Semi final.
On February 13 United travelled to Madrid and took the lead against the nine time Champions of Europe, however it was old boy Crisitano Ronaldo who pegged it back to 1-1 to set-up the return tie in Manchester perfectly.
United came away from Spain with what was considered a job well done.
That outcome means that the second leg is going to be a memorable night for one army of fans, and United would have believed they were the slight favourites after securing that precious away goal.
But in Barcelona last night, Ronaldo and Co sent a clear message to The Red Devils with a brilliant display against their biggest rivals.
With Barcelona dominating La Liga, Madrid needed a big performance to ensure a final place in the Copa Del Rey.
They got just that, with a 3-1 victory that saw Ronaldo take centre stage once again. He converted an early penalty after being upended by Gerard Pique.
He also added a second to take his tally to 11 against The Catalans, and the excellent Raphael Varane added the third before Jordi Alba grabbed a consolation for the hosts.
This result and performance showed Madrid's lethal attacking threat in the form of Angel Di Maria, and of course Ronaldo.Their midfield and defensive backbone also stood strong, with Varane impressing again for the visitors.
And as the United boss watched on from the stands, he will have seen just what to expect from Madrid if he wasn't already sure from their first leg encounter.
Much like the performance in Madrid, United will want the first goal, especially on home soil.
Robin van Persie will be looking to make amends for failing to score in the Bernabeu and Wayne Rooney should be supporting him after a recent illness.
With Ronaldo returning to Old Trafford for the first time, emotion may be in the air, but there is no doubt he will still terrify the United defence. And with the lively Di Maria on the opposite side, full-backs Rafael and Evra will need to be at their absolute best.
The first leg result has set the tie up for a firework ending at Old Trafford, and having blown Barcelona away last night, Madrid travel to England with the confidence that they can break United down and qualify for the final eight of the Uefa Champions League.
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