Manchester United: United Through to the Semi-Finals Against Barcelona

Red Army ManchesterCorrespondent IApril 9, 2008

In the 50th anniversary of the Busby Babes, United's new boys do enough to take them through to a semi-final encounter against Thierry Henry and Barcelona.

With a much changed side, United started with great speed and pace against Roma and nearly went ahead by a couple of goals in the first 20 minutes.

There was some great play from Owen Hargreaves and Ji Sung Park, making it hard to choose between them for man of the match.

Roma were awarded a penalty in the first half, when Mancini went down after a tackle from Wes Brown, a penalty it was not, Mancini went down with very little contact.

De Rossi took the penalty and his shot ended up in row z of the Stretford End, this was the chance that Roma squandered.

At half time Rio Ferdinand, had to have three stitches in his foot from a tackle earlier in the game but still came back on to play.

In the 69th minute Owen Hargreaves launched a cross reminiscent of David Beckham, dipping the ball into the Roma penalty area where Carlos Tevez put it into the net with a diving header, putting United 1-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate.

Anderson and Giggs were replaced by Wayne Rooney and the versatile John O'Shea. This changed the team shape yet again, making it even harder for Roma to break through.

Then in the 80th minute, the moment a lot of fans had been waiting for, their captain, Gary Neville came on for Carrick, making this his 99th Champions League appearance. He was dutifully given the skippers arm band back after being away for 13 months.

Another win for Manchester United against Roma, who must be sick of playing the English side by now.

The semi finals are next with a visit to Barcelona for the first leg while Chelsea and Liverpool battle it out for the final spot in Moscow.

Most are saying a Liverpool v Manchester United in the final but you just never know, as the Champions League always has a few twists and turns. That would do for me but it does not matter to me personally, as long as United make the final, who they meet there is irrelevant.

I have to say though, it's been a great Champions League week for English Football, as three clubs made it to the semi-finals. This just shows how strong our league in England has improved over the years.