Ghana midfielder Michael Essien was not even on the bench as his Real Madrid side dump 10-man Manchester United out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.
Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford to dump his former club out of the competition with the Spanish side triumphing 2-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.
The second leg of the last-16 encounter turned firmly in the favour of the side from Spain the moment referee Cuneyt Cakir brandished a shock red card to Nani in the 56th minute following the winger’s clumsy, but not malicious, high challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa.
United had edged ahead on aggregate shortly after the interval as Sergio Ramos could only divert Nani’s drilled low cross into his own net after it had flicked off the foot of Danny Welbeck, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in the ascendency at that point.
But Nani’s dismissal sparked a spell of Real pressure which United could not withstand, as substitute Luka Modric, sent on for Arbeloa, curled home a delicious strike from the edge of the box in the 66th minute.
And, somewhat inevitably, it was former Manchester United favourite Ronaldo who had the final say, sliding in at the far post to convert Gonzalo Higuain’s drilled cross-shot after the striker’s mesmerising one-two with Mesut Ozil.
Essien was part of Madrid’s team that travelled to England for the game but did not even make the bench of Real.