Champions League — 05 March 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to upset his old team at  Old Trafford Manchester United host Real Madrid this evening in the second leg of the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The first leg at the Bernabeu finished 1-1 and was action packed. The second leg at Old Trafford is expected to be much the same.

Real Madrid heads into this game after a morale boosting 2-1 victory at arch-rivals Barcelona at the weekend. Real boss Jose Mourinho decided to rest a number of his star players, but former-United star Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to snatch the winner for Los Blancos.

Both teams have selection dilemmas ahead of the big game. Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will need to find a replacement for youngster Phil Jones, who valiantly man-marked Ronaldo in the first leg.

The young England international is suffering from an ankle injury. The likes of Anderson, Tom Cleverley and Paul Scholes are all vying for the role. Cleverley is expected to get the nod to track the former-United star.

Wayne Rooney could start the game on the bench with Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck on the wings. Japanese star Shinji Kagawa is expected to keep his place playing just behind lone striker Robin Van Persie, after scoring a hat-trick against Norwich in United’s 4-0 win.

United have options at centre-back with Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic all vying for two spots at the heart of the defence. Should veteran Ryan Giggs play any part it will be Welshman’s 1,000th career appearance.

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has a dilemma up front. Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain are both in contention to play as the lone striker. However, Higuain is like to get the nod after Benzema played 90 minutes in the Barcelona game.

Diego Lopez is set to continue in goal, despite Real hero Iker Casillas recovering from a broken finger. Raphael Varane is also likely to start in the heart of the defence at the expense of Pepe.

Exciting

This clash promises to be an exciting one. Please return to FootballCosmos tomorrow for a review of all the action from Old Trafford.

Who will progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League?

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David Nugent

David is a 29 year-old football fan and journalist, who is passionate about the beautiful game. He is a lifelong supporter of Premier League Everton and likes nothing better than a healthy discussion about the world's favourite sport.

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