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Manchester United reach Champions League final (

6 mei 2009 - Source:

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Manchester United reached the Champions League as two goals in the first 11 minutes saw them defeat Arsenal 3-1. The title holders earned a 4-1 aggregate victory following a 1-0 win in the semi-final first leg. Chelsea take on FC Barcelona at Stamford Bridge tonight in the other semi-final second leg to determine the final in Rome.
Ronaldo bagged a brace
The Gunners' hopes of reaching the final ended inside 11 minutes as United struck twice. Kieran Gibbs should have comfortably cleared a long ball but the 19-year-old slipped and Ji-Sung Park was on hand to lift the ball over goalkeeper Manuel Almunia after eight minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo killed the game just three minutes later when he fired a 40-yard free-kick past the Spanish keeper, who moved too late to pull off a save. Ronaldo scored a third goal for United on the hour mark: a stunning move from Ronaldo to Park, back to Ronaldo, to Rooney, and to Ronaldo to score. The only blemish on an ideal night for Manchester United was the dismissal of Darren Fletcher, which means the midfielder will miss the final. The Italian referee Roberto Rosetti showed the Mancunian a straight red card for a foul on Cesc Fabregas as he raced in on goal. Replays, however, showed that Fletcher got a clean touch the ball before Fabregas fell to the ground. Robin van Persie duly converted the resulting spot kick; 1-3.
Guus Hiddink and Alex
Chelsea, with former PSV coach Guus Hiddink and centre back Alex, take on FC Barcelona at Stamford Bridge tonight in the other semi-final second leg to determine the final later this month in Rome. Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final at the Nou Camp last week. Ahead of tonight's clash Stamford Bridge, Hiddink has warned some of his players that this season could prove to be their final chance of UEFA Champions League glory. 'Ballack, Drogba, Lampard and Anelka don't have five, six or seven more years to get the same chances that they have had in previous years. That's why they have a lot of desire and ambition this season.' Chelsea have failed to win the Champions League, despite reaching five semi-finals in the past six seasons and the final last year when they were beaten by Manchester United on penalties. Guus Hiddink came close to reaching the Champions League final as coach of PSV in the 2004/05 season, when they were beaten by AC Milan. He who won the European Cup back in 1988 as coach of PSV after beating Benfica on penalties in Stuttgart and is looking for a repeat performance.