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Lucky Real in dreamland, says Spanish press

MADRID (AFP) –

Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain (C) celebrates setting up his team's second goal at Old Trafford on March 5, 2013

Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain (C) celebrates setting up his team’s second goal for Cristiano Ronaldo (not pictured) during their Champions League last-16 second leg against Manchester United at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England on March 5, 2013. Madrid’s sporting press on Wednesday hailed a dream win for Real as they took a step closer to a 10th European club crown.

Madrid’s sporting press on Wednesday hailed a dream win for Real as they took a step closer to a 10th European club crown but rival papers said their victory at Manchester United was a gift from the referee.

“Madrid close a dream week at Old Trafford en route to their 10th,” Marca said, after Tuesday night’s Champions League win topped two recent victories over their rivals Barcelona in the Spanish league and cup.

“Great week,” yelled the other main pro-Real daily, AS, on its front page.

Both papers acknowledged United’s furious response to the sending off of its Portuguese winger Nani for a boot in the chest of Alvaro Arbeloa.

Marca described the red card as “harsh”.

Pundit Juanma Trueba in AS nevertheless judged Real “better… although the referee helped and lightened the burden” of Madrid.

Pro-Barcelona dailies Sport and Mundo Deportivo played down Real’s joy, relegating their reports of the match to deep in their inner pages.

“Refereeing victory,” sneered Mundo Deportivo in its headline.

“Madrid were bad and ended up playing for time despite being one goal up.”

“Gift to Madrid,” said Sport in a small item on its front page, above a photograph of Nani getting his red card.

Marca lauded Cristiano Ronaldo’s respectful lack of celebration after scoring the decisive goal against his former club.

“Heart of a champion,” it headlined above a picture of the striker it dubbed “Sir Cristiano”.

“There had been room for the possibility of Madrid writing off the season,” Marca said. “But nothing could be further from the truth.”

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