What did we learn from the match, and what could come from it?
Here are five talking points from the Battle of the Bernabeu...
Sir Alex Ferguson got his tactics spot on
If anybody was questioning why Danny Welbeck was selected prior to the game, they promptly saw that doubt removed. He rose highest to score a first half corner and that wasn't his only impact. He was constantly looking to get on the ball, and win it back when not in possession, making as many successful tackles (4) as any United player. It was a formation Sir Alex has perfected away in Europe, in the past it has been Park Ji-Sung who has plied away in the Welbeck role. The question looking ahead is whether United will find a place for Welbeck in the home leg, or if they will select Valencia and play a more expansive formation.
David de Gea proved his talent, but could it intensify interest from La Liga clubs?
David de Gea has had his critics since joining United, but looked largely at home at the Bernabeu. Some of his 'keeping was a little unorthodox, with his feet, but he kept the ball out and that's what counts. He made some fine stops and while not perfect from corners, had an assured performance. With the eyes of his homeland upon him, he didn't disappoint, but the question is whether it will intensify the desires for either Real Madrid or Barcelona to try and sign him in the summer, with Valdes off and Casillas having had a turbulent season.
United's away goal is an cushion rather than an advantage
Jose Mourinho said the tie was evenly poised after the match, and in essence it is, it's hard to imagine Real not scoring at Old Trafford. But United do have a cushion. If Madrid score at Old Trafford, especially first, they don't have to panic like they might have done had they drawn this one 0-0. Having that little extra freedom not to be so fearful at home may just help the Red Devils bring the best out of themselves in a fortnight's time.
Robin van Persie should have won it, and won't be happy with himself
Robin van Persie will be more disappointed than any other player on the pitch at the Bernabeu, having fluffed a simple chance when he couldn't get enough power on his effort to convert past Diego Lopez. He came close on two other occasions, with Lopez making fine saves, but it was his point blank effort which will stick in the throat. Having missed a simple effort for Arsenal against Milan at the Emirates last season, he will know the feeling well, and be extra determined to make up for it in the second leg.
Cristiano Ronaldo showed the occasion was not too much for him and will fancy his chances at Old Trafford
Ronaldo's header was picture perfect, rising highest to place the ball into the net, as he has done on numerous occasions - namely the 2008 Champions League Final in 2008 against Chelsea. He shot down talk he would be distracted by the emotion of facing his former club and was a constant danger, going close from a second half free-kick and almost converting a late goalmouth scramble. In fact it looked like he is just getting warmed up, revving his engine for a big display at Old Trafford. Could this Ronaldo score a hat-trick for Real just like R9?
What did you take from the match? Who will go through?
image: © rubenvike