Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Seventh Heaven as Reds Run Riot

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Seventh Heaven as Reds Run Riot

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ken Gaunt

Sir Alex Ferguson savoured the moment as his remarkable Manchester United side claimed a place in the Champions League semi-finals, writes Ken Gaunt.

United romped home 7-1 against Roma in front of a disbelieving Old Trafford crowd and will now face either AC Milan or Bayern Munich.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, United drew level on aggregate after 16 minutes through Michael Carrick.

That set the tone for the night with Alan Smith, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo all adding to the tally before half-time.

Ronaldo and Carrick scored further goals in the second-half and although Daniele De Rossi pulled one back for Roma, Patrice Evra had the final word with United going through 8-3 on aggregate.

It was United's biggest win in Europe since 1968 when they defeated Republic of Ireland side Waterford by a similar margin.

United boss Ferguson said: "We never expected to win 7-1 but the quality of our game was so high.

"It was a fantastic performance. Our speed of play and penetration was superb. It was a special night and every one of our goals were quality.

"We did our job against a very good team. The early goal gave us the confidence to go at Roma and that's absolutely the best night of European football we've had here. The scoreline tells you that."

United went into the game on the back of losing to Portsmouth at the weekend as well as Roma, and Ferguson was delighted at the mental attitude of his side.

He said: "We've had two bad results but all great teams get over those mishaps. Recovery is the thing and we recovered tonight."

Ferguson had special words of praise for former Leeds striker Smith, whose progress has been hampered by injury.

He said: "It is fantastic for him. He deserves it more than anyone.

"His attitude to play football is wonderful. He has got enthusiasm that spreads throughout the team and he trains like a beast."

With Chelsea also going through and Liverpool expected to advance against PSV Eindhoven tomorrow, English clubs have a stranglehold on the competition.

Ferguson said: "We are playing in probably the best league in Europe at the moment, it used to be Spain. …

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