Manchester United badgeManchester United took a giant step towards reaching the last four of the Champions League after a comfortable 2 – nil win away to Roma last night.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s team put in a near flawless performance at the Stadio Olimpico and overcame their Italian rivals with goals from Christina Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

The result leaves United clear favourites to reach a likely semi-final showdown against Barcelona.

United dominated the early stages and their crisp passing kept Roma chasing shadows for much of the first half. It was no surprise therefore when Ronaldo headed home his 36th goal of the season from Paul Scholes’ cross six minutes before half-time.

Roma rallied, with Christian Panucci missing from close range and Edwin van der Sar saving brilliantly from Mirko Vucinic’s 61st-minute header.

But Rooney bundled home United’s crucial second five minutes later.

Ferguson was delighted with the display but remained cautious at the final whistle. “We can’t take anything for granted, but we definitely feel like we can reach the semi-finals,” he said.

“It was a marvellous result. We showed discipline and composure on the ball.”

The Scot said United would have to be wary of the return of Roma captain and talisman Francesco Totti next Wednesday.

“We know Totti’s abilities,” Ferguson said. “He’s an inspirational figure for Roma, but we hope Old Trafford on a European night will be ready for us.”

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