Ronaldo masterclass sends Reds to Rome

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Football News

Sir Alex Ferguson will attempt to rule Rome in the Champions League final in three weeks' time after 10-man Manchester United produced an awesome attacking display to destroy Arsenal 3-1 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate.

A fortuitous opener from Park Ji-sung was followed by a thunderous 40-yard free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo to effectively book a final date with Chelsea or Barcelona on May 27 after only 11 minutes.

Ronaldo capped a fine performance by sliding home a third goal, his 25th of the season. It was not quite a perfect night for United as Darren Fletcher ended it in disbelief at a red card for a tackle on Cesc Fabregas - which will rule him out of the Italian job.

After just eight minutes, Arsenal' Kieran Gibbs lost his footing and hit the ground with a thump. Like lightning, Park seized on the loose ball, delicately lifting it over goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, whose arrival came just too late.

But if United's opener came courtesy of good fortune, their next was the result of audacity, mixed with high ability. As Ronaldo took a free-kick - following a foul by Robin Van Persie - the United star stepped back and waited from 35 yards out, ready to unleash his missile and Almunia knew what to expect.

Indeed, it could be argued that from such distances, not goalkeeper should be beaten. But as Ronaldo let fly, with venom, and watched his shot dip and flicker, Almunia was powerless to prevent it ripping into the net.

In fairness, Arsenal tried to rally, but there was nothing the Spanish stopper could do when United attacked again, Ronaldo supplying the finish to Wayne Rooney's cross.

For Fletcher there was a nasty sting in the tail. The Scot got studs on the ball before sending Fabregas flying in the penalty area, earning him a red card which will rule him out of the final.

Van Persie impressively converted the spot-kick - but it was little consolation for Arsenal.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Robin Van Persie
European News
Kieran Gibbs
Premier League
Manuel Almunia
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
Darren Fletcher
Wayne Rooney
Ji-Sung Park

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