Man United 1 Real Madrid 2: Nani red card decision marred game – Phelan
Man United 1 Real Madrid 2: Mike Phelan describes Cuneyt Cakir's decision to send off Nani as "very harsh" after Red Devils crash out
Mike Phelan described referee Cuneyt Cakir’s decision to send off Nani as “very harsh” after Real Madrid advanced to the quarter-finals of the Champions League at Manchester United’s expense.
Nani was shown a straight red card in the 56th minute after a Sergio Ramos own-goal had put United 1-0 on the night just after half-time.
The Portugal winger’s foot was high as he went into an aerial challenge with Alvaro Arbeloa but he appeared to have his eye on the ball at all times and a fuming Sir Alex Ferguson vented his frustration on the touchline.
The game then swung in Madrid’s favour, as substitute Luka Modric netted a stunning long-range drive, before Cristiano Ronaldo slid in at the far post to turn home Gonzalo Higuain’s teasing low cross to wrap a 3-2 aggregate win.
“We felt we had the tactics right, we were comfortable at 0-0 in the first half,” said assistant manager Phelan, who addressed the media instead of Ferguson in the post-match news conference after the game.
“We came out and scored a goal which put us in a commanding position. After that we were in reasonable control and created a couple of chances, but then the game totally changed.
“The decision was amazing but we had to carry on. Playing Madrid with 10 men is very difficult and we feel disappointed we needed with 10 men.
“The manager is not in a state to talk to the referee about the decision.
“I think it speaks volumes I am here speaking now and not the manager of this fantastic football club. The decision seemed very harsh, possibly incredible at that moment in the game.”
He added: “It was a disappointing decision, I think it spoilt the game, we have to move on.
“I have said it before, to play Real Madrid on a magnificent occasion, with a massive audience around the world and everyone will be sitting wondering what has happened. A great performance was marred by one decision.”