Manchester United and Bayern Munich battled to a 1-1 draw in their Champions League quarter-final, first leg on Wednesday (AEDT) as the visitors finished with 10 men after goalscorer Bastian Schweinsteiger was sent off.
In the other quarter-final tie, Barcelona drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid at home after going a goal behind to their La Liga rivals at the Nou Camp.
Holders Bayern played the last few minutes at Old Trafford with 10 men after Schweinsteiger, who scored their equaliser in the 67th minute, got a second booking for tripping Wayne Rooney, ruling him out of next Wednesday’s second leg in Munich.
Schweinsteiger’s superbly taken first-time lash into the roof of David De Gea’s net came nine minutes after United skipper Nemanja Vidic stretched to clinically head a Rooney corner past stranded goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the 58th.
“Congratulations to the team,” Bayern coach Pep Guardiola told reporters. “I am satisfied because Manchester United is one of the best teams in the world and that is something we should not forget.
“The away goal is extremely important even though the 1-1 can be tricky. We will try to win the return leg and I have full confidence in my players,” added the Spaniard, whose team is still on track to repeat the treble it claimed last season.
United’s performance was in stark contrast to the team’s recent 3-0 home defeats by arch-rivals Liverpool and Manchester City in a lacklustre Premier League campaign.
Although the draw ended United’s run of four straight Champions League home wins this season, it was a huge improvement on much of their domestic league form which has left them stranded in seventh place in the table.
Manager David Moyes, who has endured a tough baptism this season after taking over from the retired Alex Ferguson, had said his main wish was to have a foothold in the tie going into the second leg and he was encouraged by United’s performance.
“I was really pleased with the way we played there was a great atmosphere a great crowd, it was really gutsy, ” he told ITV Sport.
“There was a real determination tonight to make sure we did well. Its a competition we have a really good history in, and we played a really good side tonight.”
With Schweinsteiger and defender Javi Martinez now suspended for the return, Moyes was asked if he had more belief in winning next week against a side who retained their domestic title with seven matches left and are in the German Cup semi-finals.
“Well we have to score a goal because if the score stays as it is, Bayern goes through and we have to do something about it.
“We said we wanted to go into the second leg with a real chance and we have done that. We have given ourselves a real opportunity. We will go to Munich and try and get a victory.”
Neymar rescues draw for Barcelona
An exquisite goal from Neymar rescued the draw for Barcelona after substitute Diego had given rivals Atletico Madrid the lead.
A stunning 35-metre strike from Diego put Atletico in the driving seat after 56 minutes at the Nou Camp but Barcelona, aiming for their seventh successive semi-final appearance, hit back with a bending effort from Neymar 15 minutes later.
Atletico Madrid lost their talisman in attack, Diego Costa, to injury early on and still had the better chances in the first half through David Villa.
It has been a remarkable season for La Liga leaders Atletico and they showed typical resistance before Barca found a way through when Andres Iniesta played in Neymar and he curled the ball round keeper Thibaut Courtois.
Goalkeeper Pinto nearly gave away a goal when his clearance went straight to Arda Turan and he found Barca old boy Villa who fired wide in front of goal.
It got worse for the home side when centre half Gerard Pique went off with a back problem after coming off worse in a challenge with Costa.
The hosts gradually worked their way more and more into the game and an Iniesta strike was blocked by Diego Godin before Costa had to leave the field with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Lionel Messi had a header comfortably saved by Courtois and Neymar shot over the bar but Atletico finished the first half stronger and this time Pinto came to the home team’s rescue, diving to deny Villa inside the area.
Diego’s shot from distance sparked Barca into action and their pressure finally paid off with Neymar’s spectacular strike.