Real, Man United all square as Ronaldo steps up

Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo showed he was equal to the biggest of occasions with a brilliant header for Real Madrid against former club Manchester United as the heavyweight Champions League last-16 first-leg showdown ended 1-1 on Wednesday.

Watched by millions around the world, the hotly-anticipated clash at the Bernabeu was Portuguese Ronaldo's first game against the club where he made his name before joining Real for a world-record fee in 2009.

It also renewed the rivalry between Real coach Jose Mourinho and his United counterpart Alex Ferguson as the La Liga champions seek the 10th European title that has eluded them since 2002 and the Premier League leaders chase a fourth triumph in Europe's elite club competition.

United withstood an early Real onslaught and drew first blood against the run of play in the 20th minute when Danny Welbeck nodded past Diego Lopez from a Wayne Rooney corner.

Ronaldo levelled 10 minutes later when he towered above Patrice Evra to send an Angel Di Maria centre arrowing into the corner.

The result gave United a slight advantage for the return leg in Manchester on March 5, although both sides will regret squandering chances in the second half that could have eased their passage to the last eight.

Mourinho said he was confident his side could score more than one goal at Old Trafford next month.

"It's true they had two big chances in the second half but it was out of context because we were chasing the game and they were defending and waiting," the former Chelsea and Inter Milan manager told a news conference.

"Basically ,what I thought, everything's open, very open for the second leg. I think this will go to the last minute."

FRAGILE TEENAGER

Ronaldo, top scorer in this season's Champions League with seven goals in seven appearances, barely celebrated his goal and spoke of the debt he owes United, where he was transformed from an inexperienced and fragile teenager into one of the world's most formidable forwards.

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