Alex Ferguson paid his expected tribute to two-goal Wayne Rooney after Manchester United’s 4-0 thrashing of AC Milan on Wednesday but also had special praise for tireless midfielder Park Ji-sung.
Rooney, who scored twice in the 3-2 San Siro victory that put United in such a commanding position, weighed in with two more at Old Trafford as United swept into the Champions League quarter-finals to stay on course for a third successive final.
Park, who will line up for South Korea at the World Cup starting in June, scored the third with a rare goal after an hour - having briefly taken a break from his completely effective man-marking job on Andrea Pirlo — and Darren Fletcher put the icing on the cake with a late header.
“It was a fantastic night for us,” Ferguson told reporters. “Wayne Rooney’s performance was just a continuation of his performances for the last two or three months, just sensational, unbelievable.
“The key tonight was Park and Rooney. Park played a game of sacrifice with discipline and intelligence that won us the game.”
Rooney opened the scoring with another powerful header after 13 minutes to swing the tie heavily United’s way and Ferguson said his practice at that discipline had paid off.
“His movement in the box has improved this season, he’s practiced a lot more, he does heading sessions after training and I think you get your rewards,” he said.
The striker, upon whom England’s World Cup hopes rest, then showed lung-bursting ambition to be first to Nani’s cross a minute into the second, bringing lavish praise from Milan coach Leonardo.
Real out of race
Real Madrid was eliminated from the Champions League in the first knockout round for the sixth year in a row on Wednesday after drawing 1-1 with Lyon, sending the French club through 2-1 on aggregate.
With a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, Madrid looked
determined to score from the start and Cristiano Ronaldo gave the hosts the lead in the sixth minute.
But Miralem Pjalic equalized in the 75th from Lisandro’s assist.