Barca Dominates, But Honors Shared

ReutersManchester United's Christiano Ronaldo sending his second-minute spot kick wide, with Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes out of the picture and helpless.
BARCELONA, Spain -- Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo fluffed an early penalty as his side drew 0-0 with a dominant Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

The Portugal winger, who has scored 38 goals in all competitions this season, sent his spot kick high and wide after Barca center back Gabriel Milito handled in the area in the second minute.

"I didn't change my style on the penalty. Today I didn't score, but no problem -- I will score in Manchester," Ronaldo said. "Nil-nil away is a good result."

United appeared stunned, and surrendered the initiative to Barca. But although the Catalans dominated, they failed to take advantage and visiting goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar was seriously tested only once, by substitute Thierry Henry late in the game.

United seemed to have got off to a dream start when Milito handled the ball in the area after Ronaldo had beaten him to a header. Ronaldo, however, sent the ball past Victor Valdes's left post, having tried to chip it into the top corner.

Barca, looking to capitalize on the let off, put the visitors under heavy pressure. United barely got a sniff of the ball, as Deco and Yaya Toure controlled the midfield, but did cause Barca another scare on the half-hour, when Ronaldo intercepted a misjudged pass from Iniesta and went down in the area as he tussled with defender Rafael Marquez.

Lionel Messi's fleet footwork was as threatening as ever for the home side. He and and Iniesta combined to create Barca's best scoring oportunity midway through the second half. They sliced open United's defense with a series of one-touch passes that left the ball in the path of Eto'o, but the Cameroon striker could only hit the side netting.

Messi, making his first start since returning from a thigh injury, ran out of steam late on, when coach Frank Rijkaard sent on youngster Bojan Krkic followed by Henry.

The Frenchman came closest to breaking the deadlock with a rasping drive seven minutes from time, but Van der Sar beat the shot clear.

Marquez will miss the second leg after he was booked for a foul on Ronaldo.