[REACTION] Cristiano Ronaldo
's missed penalty kick in the third minute cost Manchester United a chance to escape from Barcelona's Nou Camp Stadium with a victory, but
United manager Alex Ferguson
praised the young Portuguese star after Wednesday's 0-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal series.
"He was a bit unlucky," said Ferguson, "and maybe [the penalty] come too early."
The United manager was overall pleased with his team's play on the road.
"It was a professional performance," he said, "and as I said at halftime we sealed off areas where Barcelona normally do well. There was a lot of play on the edge of our
box but we defended well. We should have done better with our possession and we gave the ball away too easily. The result gives us a good chance."
United was awarded a penalty
when Ronaldo headed Wayne Rooney
's corner against the arm of Gabriel Milito
Ronaldo thought he
should have been awarded a second penalty later in the first half when he collided with defender Rafael Marquez
Ferguson wasn't so sure.
"You're lucky to get one penalty at the Nou Camp," he said, "so getting two..."
"There were no white hankies, which showed that they were
satisfied with the way their team played," he said. "Barcelona have fantastic players and I'm pleased that, while they kept the ball really well, they did not create that many clear
chances. There was a period in the second half when [Samuel] Eto'o
hit the side netting and got to the byline but otherwise we kept them at bay. Rio Ferdinand
Barca played without Ronaldinho
, Lionel Messi
came off after an hour, and Thierry Henry
only played the last quarter of an hour. Still, Barca coach Frank Rijkaard was confident
that his team will do well in the second leg on Tuesday at Old Trafford.
"We have to keep an eye on [Lionel] Messi still and take care with him," said Rijkaard, "while
[Thierry] Henry is only just coming back from a fever, but we are getting key players back. I think that, while this is not a good result, we have taken a big step forward tonight." GAME SUMMARY:
April 23 in Barcelona Barcelona 0 Man. United 0. Barcelona --
Valdes, Zambrotta, Marquez, Milito, Abidal, Xavi, Toure, Deco (Henry, 77), Messi (Krkic, 62),
Eto'o, Iniesta. Man. United --
van der Sar, Hargreaves, Ferdinand, Brown, Evra, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Park, Tevez (Giggs, 85), Rooney
(Nani, 76). Referee:
Massimo Busacca (Switzerland). Att.: