Here is how both the British and the Spanish papers reported the game, including some of the opinions of the country's top football writers.
The Daily Telegraph: Show stopper
Henry Winter: At the final whistle, Manchester United fans sang loudly about going to Wembley, venue of this year’s Champions League final. There is much work to be done, many miles to travel, many obstacles to clear, but this was a good night for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. If David de Gea continues to keep goal as defiantly, athletically and occasionally as unorthodoxly as this, United will continue to progress towards Wembley. Ferguson is confident. “It is within our grasp.
The Times: Relentless firepower of Real smothered by defiant De Gea
Oliver Kay: Cristiano Ronaldo had nothing to prove to his former Manchester United team-mates last night, but he proved it anyway. That he and Real Madrid did not hammer the point home on a memorable evening at the Bernabéu was due, in no small part, to a young goalkeeper who, by contrast, had it all to prove. This was a homecoming of sorts for David De Gea, who learnt his trade across the city at Atlético Madrid. In Madrid, as in Manchester, concern has been expressed about Spanish football’s great young goalkeeping hope, but his performance was one of which Iker Casillas, a national treasure, missing out for Real through injury last night, would have been proud as the youngster made several fine saves to protect a creditable result for United.
The Mirror: Didn't we do Wel
Oliver Holt: There were no white handkerchiefs waved for Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu last night. This was not the type of occasion to display the symbols of impending doom every Real Madrid coach dreads. This was a celebration of football, ‘the game the whole world wanted to see’, a time to savour the spectacle. It was a time to glory in the majesty of a soaring header from Cristiano Ronaldo and smile at the ovation accorded Ryan Giggs by the Bernabeu faithful. But the subtext was unavoidable: this is a tie that could bring an ignominious end to Mourinho’s fractious reign in Madrid. The burden of that knowledge and the kind of frailty his side showed last night as they wilted against United is weighing heavily upon him.
The Independent: United pull out old fighting qualities so typical of Ferguson
James Lawton: They may not be the Manchester United that used to routinely light fires at home and across Europe but they are still recognisably Manchester United. This is to say that they retain unique qualities of fighting character and after superbly restraining some of the best that a now single-minded Real Madrid, for whom nothing for the moment exists beyond the Champions League, could produce in their own most intimidating fortress, their manager Sir Alex Ferguson had reason to believe that he may once again have a gleam of light in what not so long ago seemed like on-rushing crisis. (The Independent)
Daily Mail: The kids grow up as De Gea walks tall
Ian Ladyman: Buried deep in the enthusiasm and bombast of Sir Alex Ferguson’s build-up to this game was a comment clearly as rehearsed as anything the Manchester United manager will ever say. Sitting next to his goalkeeper David de Gea at a press conference at the Bernabeu on Tuesday, Ferguson knew he would be asked about the 22-year-old Spaniard and was ready. ‘We are good at developing people,’ said Ferguson. ‘David is like a kid making his steps forward. He wobbles, he gets up, wobbles, gets up and now, all of a sudden, he is walking.’ Not only was it great imagery, it was perfectly placed. By his side, it was almost possible to see De Gea’s chest swell. Nothing, after all, fills a sportsman with belief more than flattery from his manager; well, nothing, perhaps, apart from a resolute performance in one of sport’s great arenas. That is exactly what De Gea was here: resolute. He was not brilliant or awe-inspiring or incredible. Or any other superlative. (Daily Mail)
Daily Express: Danny bottles up vintage Ronaldo
Richard Tanner: Cristiano Ronaldo gave his old team a torrid evening but Manchester United will be regarded as favourites for the quarter-finals after grabbing this draw and a vital away goal in the Bernabeu. Danny Welbeck justified his surprise selection by putting United ahead and although Ronaldo equalised, the Premier League leaders produced a stubborn defensive performance with keeper David De Gea excelling on his return to his home city. Spaniard De Gea produced a series of saves to underline Ferguson’s faith that he has all the talent. (Daily Express)
Daily Star: De Hero
Jeremy Cross: Ferguson was the happier manager at the final whistle, knowing United had something precious to take home and defend. It promises to be another blockbuster and if it is half as entertaining as this game then it will be one not be missed.
The Guardian: De Gea puts body on line as United get job half-done
Daniel Taylor: It was an epic night and, by the end, Manchester United might be emboldened enough to reflect they have made the first decisive move. Sir Alex Ferguson's team may have to be more ruthless in the second leg. They will also need to think again when it comes to trying to muzzle Cristiano Ronaldo but this was still an encouraging night for the Premier League leaders and it is typical of how they played that they were so aggrieved at the final whistle. The mob of players in red shirts who gathered around the German referee, Felix Brych, to complain he had blown for full-time before they could take a corner were aghast because these were moments when they were threatening to win the match. They were frustrated because they had passed up three wonderful chances to register one of the great results of Ferguson's quarter of a century at the club. Ferguson had promised they would play with ambition and in those final exchanges, when another team might have settled for a draw, they were still pressing forward in the old United traditions.
The Sun: The guy'nor from Govan hold whip hand as he tames cheeky upstart…
Steven Howard: First blood to the big fella from Govan. And much for Jose Mourinho to ponder before the return at Old Trafford on March 5. None more painful than the end of his dream of winning a third European Cup. As the Manchester United fans sang at the end: “Jose Mourinho, he’s s****ing himself.” The Special One has come up with the answers in the past - Porto eliminating United on that famous, dash along the touchline night at Old Trafford before Inter Milan saw off both Chelsea and, staggeringly, Barcelona at the semi-final stage in 2010. So it’s not beyond him. But you just feel it’s not going to be Jose’s year.
Marca: En El Aire (Up in the Air)
Aldunate Ramiro: With two Clasicos in a row before the return leg at Old Trafford, Real Madrid's season may be over by March 5. On that date if will be knowm if the whites will still be fighting for some titles this season, on conversely, whether it is time to think what will be done in the summer. And it will be decided within the space of a week.
As: Toca machada (Informal Spanish - a phrase akin to: heroic effort required)
Juanma Trueba: Never anger a devil with a shield or legendary teams with ghosts that give them encouragement. In the Champions League, both in the past and the present, Real Madrid knows that better than anyone. So it was an act of arrogance to underestimate Manchester United.
El Mundo: De Gea v Welbeck dan el alto (De Gea and Welback stand tall)
Angel Gonzalez: This United team of Ferguson's became rougher and cautious outside of its island. De Gea and Welbeck, one in the net, the other up the other end, stopped Cristiano and company. United refused to allow Madrid space two thick lines and many men behind the ball. Cristiano ascended into heaven for a draw but Real were smothered and inaccurate in front of goal when faced by a forest of legs.