Manchester United booked their spot in the Champions League quarter finals yesterday evening thanks to a 1-0 home win against Lyon, whilst title rivals Arsenal reached the same stage after beating AC Milan 2-0 in the San Siro.
Italian teams have a total of 11 European Cup wins in comparison to England’s 10, with United hoping to ensure English sides equal that record this season. Last night certainly was a night the Italians would rather forget in terms of protecting their European records.
United and Juventus have a history in the competition, with United fairing rather well against the Italian side. The last time the clubs met was in the Group Stages back in the 2002-2003 season. We beat them 2-1 at home, courtesy to goals from Wes Brown and Ruud van Nistelrooy, and brushed them aside away, winning 3-0 thanks to goals from Ryan Giggs and Ruud. Before that, we played them in our Treble winning season, drawing 1-1 at home after Giggs scored a late equaliser. Hope of progressing to the final faded on our away trip after going 2-0 behind within the opening 11 minutes. Thanks to a fight back started by captain Roy Keane, we went in on level terms at half time, meaning we were set for an outing in the final. Andy Cole sealed the deal with 6 minutes left to play. The first, and only other time we’ve played Juve in the European Cup, we progressed to the quarter finals in 1997, despite losing 1-0 home and away to them in to group stages.
After United’s win last night, we have now equalled their Champions League record of 10 successive wins at home in the competition. This record dates back September 2005, when we beat Benfica 2-1 in the group stages after a late goal from Ruud. The European home game before this was the 0-0 against Lille, when Paul Scholes got sent off with half an hour to play.
A home win in the quarter finals would see us claim the best ever home record in the competition, which is something we would love to pinch from the Italians.
United managed a 1-1 draw in the San Siro against Inter Milan back in the 1998-1999 season, but last night, title rivals Arsenal became the first English team to beat AC Milan at the same ground. Like last season, Milan are having a poor domestic season, and have been looking to claim glory in the European Cup. After managing a 0-0 draw at the Emirates, it seemed as though it would be plain sailing for the Italians at home. However, they never really showed up, allowing Arsenal to boss the game, and knock them out of the European Cup.
Last night was a great occasion for English clubs against the Italians in the competition, but will United or Arsenal be the team to equal their European Cup wins come May?