Manchester United v Real Madrid: Alex Ferguson hopes for a 'top performance' by the referee

Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir disallowed a goal for Real Madrid earlier this season

Sir Alex Ferguson is crossing his fingers that he does not have reason to lament the performance of Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir at Old Trafford tomorrow.

Cakir has taken charge of two Manchester United games, and the Red Devils have won neither, losing in last season's Europa League to Athletic Bilbao after a Champions League draw with Benfica.

The 36-year-old has more recent knowledge of Real Madrid, even if he was criticised by Jose Mourinho for disallowing a goal during the Spanish giants' 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund in December.

Additionally, the Portugal FA expressed concerns about Cakir's appointment prior to their Euro 2012 semi-final with Spain, believing the close ties between Turkey's Senes Erzik and Spanish representative Angel Marma Villar Llona, deputy chairman and chairman respectively of UEFA's referee's committee, create an unholy alliance in such delicate matters.

Cakir himself has a fairly unblemished record, which Ferguson can only hope survives tomorrow evening's high-intensity contest.

"You hope in a game of this nature that you are going to get the best refereeing performance, on the same level as the players on the pitch," said Ferguson.

"Mistakes will be made by players and the referee but you hope it will be a top performance.

"You hope to get nothing less than the best, An occasion like this deserves that."

PA

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