FA CUP Manchester United 1-0 MiddlesbroughMarch 21, 2007
Cristiano Ronaldo returned to mere mortal mode on Monday night, but the charismatic winger was still Manchester United’s match-winner in a tense FA Cup quarter-final replay at Old Trafford.
Almost inevitably, too, there was a strong whiff of controversy as the Portugal winger won the 76thminute penalty that he himself converted past Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to see United through to a semi-final against Watford.
It probably didn’t help his demeanour either when Ronaldo, having finished celebrating with most of his team-mates, ran past and seemed to gesture to Boro’s manager that he talked too much.
Southgate said: “I’m not sure about the penalty, I’ve seen it three times. But the referee has given it, so it’s end of story. Cristiano Ronaldo is a fantastic player and is really good at what he does.”
When he does what he does really well, as he did when putting Bolton to the sword just 48 hours earlier, Ronaldo is without a match. He wasn’t quite in that scintillating form on Monday night, however.
Even so, he was more than a handful for Boro, well as they played in defence, with Woodgate showing the poise and ability that should make him an essential member of the England squad.
Early in the game, Ronaldo flashed a drive wide before Viduka missed a great opportunity for Boro, pulling his first-time strike just past the near post.
Schwarzer denied Rooney again in a one-on-one in the 70th minute, but soon afterwards Ronaldo struck from the spot.
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-4-2): Kuszczak; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Carrick, Giggs, Richardson (Park 60); Smith (O’Shea 71), Rooney.
Booked: Smith, Rooney.
Scorer: Ronaldo 76 (pen).
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Xavier, Woodgate, Pogatetz, Taylor (Huth 88); Cattermole (Morrison 62), Boateng, Arca (Rochemback 69), Downing; Yakubu, Viduka.
Booked: Xavier, Woodgate, Pogatetz, Rochemback, Boateng.
Sent off: Morrison.
Man of the match: Jonathan Woodgate.
Referee: Mike Dean.