Manchester United went behind twice against Aston Villa towards the end of the 2009 season, with it looking as though we were prepared to concede the title to Liverpool, which would have made it 19-17 to them.
With half an hour left to play and at 2-1 down, Federico Macheda was subbed on for Nani. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late equaliser before Macheda scored a brilliant injury time winner. Old Trafford erupted and the 17-year-old Italian wrote his name in to our history books. In his next game he scored another important goal against Sunderland less than a minute after coming off the bench. Sadly, Macheda didn’t receive a winners medal for his troubles as he only played in four league games that season.
“You need 10 matches to qualify,” he grinned ruefully. “So I didn’t get one. But I don’t really care about the medal because I think people will always remember me for that title. The week before the boss came to me and told me there could be a chance for me to get on the bench if I did well in a reserve game. Can you imagine the excitement? Then I went and scored a hat-trick for the reserves. It was incredible really because for the first time I trained with the first team. Then everything just happened, a totally magnificent experience. When I came on the field I wasn’t concentrating on the crowd and the moment. I just told myself that it was my first game and that I was playing with big stars and I had to go on the field and just help them. I never thought at all that I would end up winning that game and then the next one. I still can’t believe it sometimes when I look back now.”
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