On this day: Paul Scholes strike knocks out Barcelona

Six years ago today, Paul Scholes scores the only goal of the game as Manchester United advance through to the final of the Champions League at the expense of Barcelona.

Throughout his Manchester United career, among his many qualities, Paul Scholes made a habit of scoring goals from distance.

Many will remember strikes against the likes of Bradford City, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, but he fired in arguably the most important goal of his vast catalogue six years ago today against Barcelona in the Champions League at Old Trafford.

The two sides had played out a 0-0 draw during the first leg of the semi-final in the Camp Nou a week earlier, with Cristiano Ronaldo spurning a golden chance to score an away goal when he sent his penalty kick over the crossbar.

It meant that there was nothing to separate the teams going into return fixture, although that almost changed after four minutes. As well as scoring memorable goals, Scholes was also known for not being a connoisseur of the clean challenge. On this occasion he tripped up Lionel Messi, who fell inside the penalty area, but thankfully for Scholes and United, referee Herbert Fandel deemed the contact to have been made outside of the area.

Manchester United's Paul Scholes shoots for goal against Barcelona on April 24, 2008.© Getty Images

Midfielder Scholes then went on to make the most of that let-off with 14 minutes on the clock. Ronaldo had been dispossessed by Gianluca Zambrotta, but his clearance only found Scholes 25 yards from goal. He took one touch, before lashing a rising shot beyond the reach of a despairing Victor Valdes and into the top corner of the net.

The remainder of the half was dominated by Frank Rijkaard's visitors, yet they couldn't score an equaliser. Playmaker Deco in particular had two good opportunities, the first of which he failed to keep down, while the other rolled inches wide of Edwin van der Sar's upright.

United had a greater attacking intent after the restart, with both Nani and Carlos Tevez calling Valdes into action within the opening 15 minutes of the second half.

However, as the match wore on, the hosts were pegged back inside their own half as Barca sought the away goal that would send them into the Moscow final. Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry had their best chance to score it 10 minutes from time, but having met Xavi's pinpoint corner, he headed straight at Van der Sar.

Paul Scholes celebrates scoring for Manchester United against Barcelona on April 24, 2008.© Getty Images

The United defence, marshalled by Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown, was then able to see out the remainder of the contest, which sparked scenes of wild celebration at the final whistle.

Speaking about Scholes's influence after the match, manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: "He's one of the great players to come through the ranks here. We can't expect him to score 10 to 15 goals a season like he did when he was younger, but the one he got tonight makes up for all the ones he can no longer score.

"We had to dig deep at the end because they put us under pressure. It was our discipline and a moment of quality from a fantastic player that got us through. We don't care who we play in the final. Whoever comes we will be ready."

MAN UNITED: Van der Sar; Hargreaves, Ferdinand, Brown, Evra (Silvestre); Park, Scholes (Fletcher), Carrick, Nani (Giggs), Ronaldo; Tevez

BARCELONA: Valdes; Zambrotta, Puyol, Milito, Abidal; Toure (Gudjohnsen), Xavi, Deco, Iniesta (Henry); Messi, Eto'o (Bojan)

Liverpool's John Arne Riise celebrates scoring against Barcelona during the first leg of a last 16 Champions League football match at the Camp Nou stadium in Madrid, 21 February 2007
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