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Turin Revisited? I’m Not So Sure

Manchester United players and fans were ecstatic. We were going to the European Cup final! Having gone down 2-0 against Juventus within the first ten minutes, United turned the game around and won 3-2.

A 2-2 draw would have been enough for us to progress that night in Turin. Giggsy, who had scored our only goal in the first leg, was out injured. The likes of Inzaghi, Zidane and Davids could tear us apart.

The fight back was initiated by captain Roy Keane. There wasn’t even time for celebration. Fist in the air he ran back to our half of the pitch, ready for the restart. After all, we had another goal to score yet!

By half-time we were level, Dwight Yorke scoring our equaliser. As it stood, we were going through. Andy Cole’s goal just added insult to injury though.

As we celebrated, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes trudged off the field. United were playing in the European Cup final, but those two weren’t.

“Turin was Roy Keane’s greatest moment,” Ferguson said today. “He was unbelievable that night, although the whole team did well. This is a similar position to the Juventus tie and we have got the players to step up to the plate. We have got players who can win the game. Winners, match-winners on the big occasion – that is what’s important. Against Porto we have to match our expectations and standards – the standards required of Manchester United.”

We’re ten years on from that wonderful season but Ferguson is having a laugh to think the situations are comparable. We were magic in 98-99. We are not in 08-09.

I’m not suggesting we’re dead in the water here as we might very well progress. We need to win a football match, it’s not beyond all realms of our capabilities. But there doesn’t seem to be the tiniest drop of the passion and excitement and madness that 1999 brought.

Rafael Benitez called for the Spirit of Istanbul last night and despite going 2-0 up, Liverpool ended dumped out of the European Cup. The Spirit of Turin? I don’t think so Fergie. If we win, it’s because we’re better. That year was about so much more than us being the better side.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. costas says:

    Very cool and composed first half performance!Our biggest scares were the 2 injuries but hopefully both lads are ok.As jesseto says and as i said before the game,with Ando on form i am not afraid.

  2. jessetto says:

    what a goal keep it up lads cut the sloppyness out game is ours.

  3. haha says:

    Nervous as fuck these last few minutes

  4. corea says:

    i don’t exactly adore this manchester but we are in the semis. 2 years in arrow we play that kind of football but i can not argue. i see the point.
    but as it helped last year this year this won’t be enough for this Barca.

  5. costas says:

    First up Arsenal Corea.The truth is tonight’s United is the one we have got this season.Composed,compact and will always get a goal from somewhere.Congrats to the lads.Best overall performance in a while.Remember:first english team to win there.

  6. Drew Vader says:

    Well done Anderson….. And well done to Wayne for doing his job of tracking back and keeping that left back quiet, and still managed to link up play well.

    Need more from Carrick and Evra.

  7. Nicky says:

    We did it, it wasn’t easy but we did it!! Congrats.

  8. Xyth says:

    Well done guys. Bring on ARSEnal.
    FSW eat your heart out!
    Fuck off to all those clever bastards in the media that wrote us off before the match.

  9. corea says:

    the truth on your side Costas. there is not much more to say but i think SAF could have used his players better and with greater effect in terms of the creative play.

  10. Marq says:

    Ronaldo stood up to the challange with quite a wonder goal! Nervous last few minutes, especially with Sir Alex taking off the excellent Anderson for Scholes. Good performance from Ronaldo, putting himself about and held on to good possession late in the game

    Anderson gave us lots of energy today, something we have been missing alot lately.

    Rio was immense, holding the defence together. Evra still looks shaky, though a much improved performance.

    As much as people might slate Berbatov, my opinion was that he held the line well, bringing in the composure we need and slowing down the game.

    Overall, it was a comfortable game, although a second goal would have been good for many of our hearts!

    Concern about Rooney though, he was limping quite badly in the first half, and always leaning on the post during corners, which he never does. Hope its not another fractured foot bone!

  11. costas says:

    Marq i think he does lean on the goalposts but i could be mistaken.Personally i saw him ok in the second half.Hopefully he is.Today he was fantastic in tracking back.

    Corea i was also disappointed about the creative play.SAF probably thought that opening up the game wasn’t to our advantage.MAybe once we get a few more wins the confidence will come back and so will the attractive football.

  12. doncobaino says:

    anderson man of the match
    ronaldo what a goal
    rio great to have you back
    thought evra was much better tonight
    i think berb is gonna get slated but like Marq said i thought he held the line and did ok so im not gonna lay into him
    rooney was superb what a proffessional performance

    arse is gonna be tooooooough
    but tonight im just gonna enjoy being top of the league in the semi final of the fa cup anf the semi final of the european cup. not bad for a crisis!!!

  13. King Eric says:

    Pretty much agree with Marqs summary of players performances. Thats how you win titles not like that gung-ho, hell for leather brand of football we witnessed last night. Good solid performance and 3 wins on bounce, momentum back for home straight. Come on United!

  14. Giles Oakley says:

    Time to re-visit all those gripes about United players in the PFA Player of the Year shortlist. United are top of the table, they’ve won the World Cup and Carling Cup, they are in the semis for the FA Cup and Champs League and they’re breaking all sorts of records, the latest being successive matches in the Champs Lge unbeaten.Which other set of players can match that? Clearly there’s a case for Lampard who has been consistently good throughout the season, even when Chelsea weren’t doing that well. But who can seriously complain about Van der Sar, Rio, Vidic, part of one of the best defensive units in Europe (as shown tonight), despite repeated disruptions from injuries. Then there’s Ronaldo, top scorer in the Premiership, and scorer of a stunning world class goal tonight, who can seriously say he’s not worth at least a shortlist place? Some say the Giggs nomination is ‘sentimental’, well I beg to differ. Look at him tonight, showing skill, determination and calm under extreme pressure as United struggle to get their game back on track. If Liverpool had had anyone with Giggs’ composure last night they might be through like United, but they are not. So, after this round of Champs Lge matches where do we stand on the Gerrard claims? Well he was completely bossed out of the 1st leg against Chelsea, his abject failure contributing hugely to Chelsea’s win, on the night and then over 2 legs. He’s been very patchy for England too, blowing hot and cold, looking sulky when things don’t go to his liking – the very thing Ronaldo is accused of. I’d say the big injustice in these nominations is Rooney’s absense from the shortlist. He was voted player of the year by England fans (NOT Gerrard) and has been at the heart of everything good for United in their advance on all fronts.Tonight he performed heroically in yet another role, wide right, showing what a selfless team-player he is, as well as one of the most adaptable footballers in Europe.


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