Many critics analysed Sir Alex Ferguson’s masterplan at Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the highly anticipated UEFA Champions League tie between Real Madrid and Manchester United.

The English league leaders travelled to Madrid for the first leg of the last 16 in Europe's top competition, as the global heavyweights went head-to-head in a mouth-watering encounter.

The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw after an intense affair saw a host of chances falling to both sides, with neither able to make full use of the favourable situations.

Danny Welbeck was a surprise inclusion in the United line-up and Sir Alex’s tactical decision paid off as the England striker opened the scoring with a fine header, following a Wayne Rooney corner.

The goal came completely against the run of play, and when it mattered most, up stepped Cristiano Ronaldo in the famous white jersey, as he always has, to head a miraculous header past David De Gea. The Portuguese’s effort cancelled out Welbeck’s goal and the score-line stayed at one-a-piece come the final whistle.

Manchester United adopted a clever approach, as they let them keep the ball and hit them with swift counter-attacking football, a tactic often deployed by Madrid when facing their bitter rivals, Barcelona.

And former Spanish international and Real Madrid legend Carlos Santillana expects United to adopt the same tactic in the return leg at Old Trafford, but stated that Madrid have the quality to see off United, following their amazing showing at Camp Nou.

"United don't like having the ball too much, they will probably allow Madrid to dominate possession and play a similar game to the one they played at the Bernabeu," said Santillana.

"And for the speed with which Madrid have on the break, a plan like that would function well, I think.

"We will be up against more difficulties, though, because they won't let us hit them on the break like Barca do."

Santillana added: "I see Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League and, why not, winning it." 

The return leg is scheduled to be played at Old Trafford on March 5.


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