Nerazzurri go down fighting as Vidic, Ronaldo goals book quarter-final place for defending champions

MANCHESTER - Nemanja Vidic and Cristiano Ronaldo scored at the start of each half as Manchester United qualified for the last eight of the UEFA Champions League at the expense of Inter.

But the Nerazzurri went down fighting at Old Trafford, twice being denied by the woodwork and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Dejan Stankovic narrowly missing the target.

José Mourinho made four changes to his team for the first leg, bringing in Balotelli for Adriano in attack. Cordoba and injury-returnee Samuel replaced Rivas and the injured Chivu in heart of the defence, while Vieira got the nod ahead of Muntari in midfield.

Ferguson made changes of his own after fielding a makeshift defence in Milan. Vidic returned alongside Ferdinand after missing the first leg through suspension. The experience of Scholes was preferred to Fletcher in midfield, while Rooney, on as a sub for the final minutes of the first leg, started up front with Berbatov.

United came out firing on all cylinders and had Inter on the back foot with less than four minutes on the clock when Vidic rose in the box to power home a header from Ryan Giggs' right-wing corner.

Inter's first chance fell to Balotelli but his curling free kick from the left wing was easy prey for Van der Sar.

Berbatov had a shot saved and Ronaldo and Rooney sent efforts wide as United looked to build on their lead but the Nerazzurri gained in confidence as the minutes ticked by and were denied an equaliser by the woodwork just before the half hour when Ibrahimovic's downwards header from Maicon's cross bounced up on to the bar.

More chances followed and Stankovic only just missed the target with a swerveshot from Ibrahimovic's cheeky pass.

O'Shea was left ruing a golden chance when Julio Cesar moved quickly to block after a through ball from Rooney, and Inter were unlucky not to be level at the break when Ibrahimovic narrowly missed with a diagonal shot, before Van der Sar kept out Maicon's snapshot from distance.

Mourinho brought on Muntari for Vieira at the start of the second half and Balotelli went close within seconds, thumping just wide his right-foot shot from Stankovic's pass.

But United hit back and increased their lead through Ronaldo who stole in behind the Nerazzurri defence to head Rooney's inswinging cross past Julio Cesar.

With a two-goal deficit to reduce Mourinho made a tactical switch, introducing Adriano for Stankovic. The move almost paid instant dividends when the Brazilian combined with Cambiasso before volleying on to the post.

Inter proceeded to dominate play but United were always a threat on the break and Julio Cesar made crucial saves in quick succession from Rooney and Berbatov, later denying Ronaldo in the closing minutes.

Manchester United 2-0 Inter (HT: 1-0, AGG: 2-0)

Scorers: Vidic 4, Ronaldo 49.

Manchester United: 1 Van der Sar; 22 O'Shea, 5 Ferdinand, 15 Vidic, 3 Evra; 7 Ronaldo, 16 Carrick, 18 Scholes (8 Anderson 70), 11 Giggs; 10 Rooney (13 Park 84); 9 Berbatov.
Subs not used: 12 Foster, 23 Evans, 24 Fletcher, 28 Gibson, 32 Tevez.
Coach: Sir Alex Ferguson.

Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 2 Cordoba, 25 Samuel, 39 Santon; 14 Vieira (20 Muntari 46), 19 Cambiasso, 4 Zanetti; 5 Stankovic (10 Adriano 58); 8 Ibrahimovic, 45 Balotelli (7 Figo 70).
Subs not used: 1 Toldo, 6 Maxwell, 9 Cruz, 24 Rivas.
Coach: José Mourinho.

Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany).

Booked: Samuel 53, Rooney 71, Muntari 77.

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