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Rooney's class can ensure United advance; DAN CHILDS'S VERDICT.

MANCHESTER UNITED showed tremendous quality and character by recovering from a dreadful start to their opening leg at the San Siro, but they are facing a more routine task this evening.

Matches at the highest level can be won and lost in the blink of an eye, and Milan are likely to look back on an eight-minute spell in Italy when two Wayne Rooney goals gave the English champions an almost unassailable advantage.

Milan know from their bitter experience of the 2005 Champions League final that dramatic recoveries can be achieved in the most important of fixtures. But their players appeared resigned to defeat when they trudged off the pitch at the end of last month's thrilling match which had begun with such promise for the home side.

Rooney's class was the key to the 3-2 victory and his return could ensure that any Rossoneri recovery bid is snuffed out.

The 24-year-old's importance to the United cause was further highlighted by his absence from Saturday's 1-0 win at Wolves, where United got nowhere near their usual standards.

And Rooney was the key figure in last month's Carling Cup final, in which he came off the bench to provide the decisive goal.

It would be far easier for Milan to contain Rooney if they were going into tonight's match from a position of strength.

Leonardo has the option of deploying a couple of combative defensive midfielders such as Gennaro Gattuso and Mathieu Flamini in front of the back four, but he will feel duty bound to play an attack-minded team.

There is every chance that Milan will get themselves on the scoresheet but they may ultimately find themselves outgunned in a potentially high-scoring game.

Recommendation Manchester United 1pt 8-11 Victor Chandler
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 10, 2010
Words:290
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