Most expected a comfortable Bayern victory. Some anticipated a merciless drubbing. In the end, Manchester United are still in with a shout of progressing to the Champions League semi-finals, defying the odds in the week of the Grand National.
United played with a desire and commitment that they have found lacking in a season of struggle. They led briefly for nine precious minutes through Nemanja Vidic’s excellent header before Bastian Schweinstiger, who later saw red for a second bookable offence, finished emphatically for a vital away goal.
The experience of Vidic and Ferdinand was priceless, so often calling upon their wisdom to negotiate rough waters. Wayne Rooney, along with Danny Welbeck, was tireless, breathing down the necks of Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng throughout. Carrick was assertive while Alex Büttner and Phil Jones fared well.
Old Trafford was besieged by belief after effectively stifling the lethal powers of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben and giving themselves an opportunity in Munich next week.
Yet, manager David Moyes had regrets, mainly through Danny Welbeck’s missed chance in the first-half with the England striker through on goal.
“I’m happy with the performance but a bit disappointed with the result. We should have taken one or two more chances,” said Moyes.
“At this level you need to be clinical. When you get chances, you have to take them”
“The players played very well. I was a bit disappointed that we conceded a goal but it was a really good performance.
While Manchester United need to score at Allianz Arena to keep their dreams alive, Moyes believes his side has been given a “great opportunity” to snatch a victory in the return leg.
“We wanted to go into it with a real chance. We’ve given ourselves a great opportunity to go to Munich and win.”