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Friday, March 12, 2010

Beckham routed in return

Manchester United pounds AC Milan; Lyon ousts Real Madrid

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Wayne Rooney spoiled David Beckham's Old Trafford homecoming Wednesday night by scoring another two goals against AC Milan as Manchester United cruised into the Champions League quarterfinals with 4-0 rout.

News photo
Back on familiar ground: AC Milan's David Beckham moves for the ball in front of Manchester United's Nani in Champions League action on Wednesday night at Old Trafford. Man United won 4-0. AP PHOTO

Having scored twice in United's 3-2 victory in the first leg, Rooney netted in each half to take his tally for the season to 30 while still carrying an knee injury.

Park Ji Sung and Darren Fletcher added another two goals as a rampant United side secured a 7-2 aggregate win against the seven-time European champions.

"It was an impressive night for us," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "When we play at that tempo, we're difficult to play against and it was a really solid performance."

Apart from Ronaldinho's early header and substitute Beckham's volley, Milan never posed any serious threat to United's quest for a third successive final.

"We can't deny what a powerful, strong performance United put in, they played a truly great game," Milan manager Leonardo said. "It's very heavy losing 4-0, but people who follow the team know why and how it's happened. What the first leg demonstrates is that we are not the same team that played tonight.

"It was a strange match and didn't show the truth about our team."

With the game virtually decided by the time Beckham came on in the second half, United fans afforded him a standing ovation and then cheered most touches from the midfielder, who returned to face United at Old Trafford for the first time since leaving seven years ago.

"It was nice to be back and obviously a disappointing night," Beckham said. "When you don't start in game it's one of those things when you always want to play.

"But it was an unbelievable reception and I have to say thank you."

United fans also continued their protests against the Glazer family, who took over the club in 2005 after Beckham's departure and has burdened the three-time European champions with debts of $1.1 billion.

Across the ground, supporters held up protest scarves in green and gold of Newton Heath, the original incarnation of United, rather than red and black.

Beckham left the pitch wearing one of the protest scarves, giving the perfect picture for fans trying to force the Glazers to sell.

But after starting the first leg, Beckham had to settle for a place on the bench from where he watched United's new superstar, Rooney, extend the Premier League champion's lead in the 13th minute.

Captain Gary Neville raced forward unchallenged and picked out Rooney with a precise cross from the right and the England forward rose above Bonera to claim his ninth header in his last 10 games.

Lyon marches on

MADRID (AP) Real Madrid was eliminated from the Champions League in the first knockout round for the sixth year in a row Wednesday after drawing 1-1 against Lyon, sending the French club through 2-1 on aggregate.

With a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, Madrid looked determined to score from the start at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, and Cristiano Ronaldo gave the hosts the lead in the sixth minute. The Portugal winger received a through ball from Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez and shot low from the corner of the penalty area past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

But Miralem Pjalic equalized in the 75th from Lisandro's assist, to leave Madrid needing two more goals to advance, which it never looked likely to get.

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