Date:Sunday November 30 2008
United kept Citeh comfortably at bay with only 10 men and secured a deserved win at the Council House. Cristiano Ronaldo's 68th-minute dismissal almost derailed the team but the ten men held on.
Sir Alex praised his players for overcoming these difficulties which, he reckons, were unfair on us.
'I've watched it again and he's trying to protect the ball hitting his face,' he told MUTV.
'He also thought he heard the whistle.
'It's not as if he's thrown a hand at the ball to deflect it away or punch it towards goal, it simply hit his hands.
'If it had been outside the box, the referee would just have given a free-kick, nothing else. The crowd played their part of course and he got sent off.'
Look, Webb was certainly slightly intimidated by the crowd (baffling as the atmosphere was nothing special) and his assistants let him down many times but I think there can be no arguing over this. Ronaldo seems to assume that he's an exception to the rules. Protect his face? Come off it, he didn't try to protect his face when he came in flying to head us into the lead in Rome in April...
No, I believe that he heard a whistle but still, even if he heard it, he should have tried to head it into the net. Had he acted in a professional manner we might have gone 2-0 up with eleven men still on the field instead of having to hold on with one man down. However, I agree with Fergie's last statements.
'Sometimes you just have to overcome things and we overcame a lot today. Winning with ten men is a difficult task away from home and we did that well today.'
And that they could not create a noticeable chance from open play against 10 men makes it even more satisfying, to be honest. Now we are the English champions, the European champions and have the bragging rights in Manchester as well. Life could not be much sweeter. Maybe if West Ham do us a favour.
Date:Sunday November 30 2008
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