Posts Tagged ‘Champion's League


Top Ten Greatest Manchester United Last-gasp goals.

Scholes doing what United do best. (Getty Images)

As the euphoria finally settled down for the red half of Manchester following Paul Scholes’s injury-time winner at Eastlands almost the entire commentating community were quick to remind anyone who would listen that this wasn’t the first time United had grabbed a late winner.

Over the years the sight of Fergie pointing at his watch subsequently followed by the naffest celebration in football history has become a common sight for football fans. For reasons I can’t be bothered to get into right now, United have made the last-minute goal something of an art form, consistently producing ‘back from the dead’ type goals when most teams would have given up.

It’s often said that United don’t do things the easy way and while opposition fans may look rather enviously at a club who’s fans main gripe is the fact that they have to go-through the mill on the way to countless trophies , there’s something to be said for that argument.
There’s no denying that being a United fan can often lead to a frustrating time- undeniably more than made up for by the end product. Just look at United’s three greatest triumphs and you’ll realise what I mean.

The European cup win in 1968 came in extra-time, the 1999 win came in injury-time and the 2008 win was courtesy of sudden-death penalties. Not exactly a walk in the park by any means.
Here’s a top ten list of united’s greatest last-gasp winners in my own personal order of merit.

10. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – Vs Liverpool , FA Cup 4TH Round, 1999. Before he was ‘putting the ball in the German’s net’ Solskjaer was busy doing the same thing to every United fan’s favourite giro hunters from up the M62. Future United injury-time winner Michael Owen- we’ll get to him later- put the visitors ahead after only 3 minutes. With only a few minutes left, United equalized through the King of Pornography and occasional baby-sitter Dwight Yorke. The game seemed to be heading for a replay until Solskjaer decided he didn’t fancy a trip to Liverpool –and who can blame him? Almost as good as the goal was the sight of Liverpool assistant boss Phil Thompson rushing onto the pitch at full-time to remonstrate with the referee as a chorus of ‘sit down Pinocchio’ rang out amongst the Old Trafford faithful.

9. John O’Shea Vs Liverpool Premier League 2007. With United and Chelsea neck-and-neck at the top of the table and with Paul Scholes sent off, it looked as though Liverpool may take all three points and help keep the title at Stamford Bridge. With Rooney going off injured for O’Shea the omens did not look good. However despite it looking as though United may just get a draw they went one better thanks to the most unlikely hero. O’Shea explains:

“The winner in the 90th minute at Anfield in front of the Kop, Gary Neville has told me that it’s his dream and I have just gone and done it.”

Many a United fan would agree.

8. Mark Hughes Vs Oldham Athletic FA Cup semi-final, 1994. Before doubles were almost expected at Old Trafford, United seemed to be heading towards their first in the 1993-4 season. A defeat to Aston Villa in the League Cup final had scuppered the chance of a domestic treble- but surely a double would be more than enough recompense. A draw against relegation battlers Oldham- who would subsequently lose that particular skirmish- seemed a formality for a team that was on its way to a second successive title. Even the suspension of Eric Cantona didn’t seem enough to stop United from steamrolling over their poor –sort of- neighbours from Lancashire. Footballing colossus Neil Pointon gave Oldham the lead and they seemed to be on their way to a fairytale victory until a certain tree-trunk thighed Welshman did what he does best –volleyed an unstoppable shot past a hapless ‘Keeper to save the day for United. Incidentally I was a young teenager behind the goal who ended up with a bloody nose following some over-exuberant hugging from the stranger sat next to me. Brilliant.

7,6 & 5. The Manchester Derby’s 2009-10. Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney & Paul Scholes.
The 2009-10 season may end up being one of disappointment for United but to soften the blow came a hat-trick of victories against the ‘noisy neighbours’ all courtesy of last-minute winners. In the first league encounter Ben Foster and Rio Ferdinand – obviously having put money on a draw did their best to ensure it happened. Unfortunately the most exciting interviewee since Muhammed Ali stopped giving them, stepped up and grabbed a late, late, winner- cue lots of moaning by City fans and another boring interview by Owen. In the League Cup second leg the game seemed to be heading into extta time before Wayne Rooney made up for what has been a miserable season for him by finally actually grabbing a goal. Although getting to the final of the League Cup is hardly the reason Old Trafford’s nicknamed the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ – keeping the Manchester City trophy clock flag going made this goal all the more sweeter for United fans. As for Scholes’s late winner only time will tell how important it was, regardless of its worth in terms of the title, when it comes to bragging rights in Manchester it was essential.

4. Andy Cole Vs Juventus Champion’s League Semi-Final 1999. After a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the first leg the odds seemed against United to say the least. After two early Juventus goals in Turin a United victory seemed about as likely as Luke Chadwick winning a modeling competition. However somebody forgot to tell Roy Keane the script as he went about producing arguably the finest performance by a United player in the past 2 decades. A vital headed ‘captain’s goal’ helped United on their way back, but what was most impressive was the way after being booked for a challenge on Zinedine Zidane and knowing he would miss the final Keano decided he didn’t give a f*ck- he wasn’t going to the Nou Camp, but United were. After Dwight Yorke had equalized to possibly send united through on away goals Cole made sure with this last-minute winner. “Full speed ahead Barcelona!”

3. Frederico Macheda Vs Aston Villa premier League 2009. After two successive losses including a home-thumping from the purse snatchers United needed a win to realistically retain the title and equal Liverpool’s record. Things seemed to be going according to plan when Ronaldo gave the Reds the lead. However, displaying appallingly bad manners Villa upset the applecart with two goals before Ronnie grabbed an equaliser. Everyone knew that only a win would do though. Cue a 17-year old substitute making his debut who scored not just a stunning strike but the one that kept the title at Old Trafford – and that’s a fact.

2. Steve Bruce Vs Sheffield Wednesday Premier League 1993. Before United made winning the title almost a premier league rule, there had been an unthinkable 26-year wait for it to come to Old Trafford. A John Sheridan penalty seemed destined to make it at least a 27-year wait. However, the man with the finest nose in football had other ideas. An equalizing header in the last-minute kept the title race alive, ahead of Ron Atkinson’s Aston Villa. However 4 hours into injury-time Bruce popped up again to score the winner and make Brian Kidd perform a celebration that often makes me wonder how he’s at Man City. Oh and ‘Fergie Time’ entered the dictionary.

1. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Vs Bayern Munich Champion’s League final 1999-In the words of Radiohead- ‘No surprises’ this is top. Any United fan on the planet would have difficulty not picking this as their favourite last-minute goal. Picture the scene, you’re Sepp Blatter, you hate English football and Manchester United even more, you’re glad to see that the superb example of German excellence Bayern Munich have beaten them. You prepare to go down from your royal seat to pitch level to hand over the trophy to the lovely Lothar Matthaus. You enter the lift, reliably informed that the Munich ribbons have already been added to the trophy, you go down, the lift doors open……………………AND SOLSKJAER HAS WON IT!!!
“Football- bloody hell.”