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The 1999 UEFA Champions League Final was a football match that took place on Wednesday, 26 May 1999. The match was played at Camp Noumarker in Barcelonamarker, Spainmarker, to determine the winner of the 1998–99 UEFA Champions League. The final was contested by Manchester United and Bayern Munich. The match is best remembered as Manchester United scored two last-minute goals in injury time to win 2–1, after having trailed for most of the match.

United's victory was the culmination of their Treble-winning season, after they had already won the FA Premier League and the FA Cup earlier in the month. Bayern were also playing for a Treble of their own, having already won the Bundesliga and having already earned a spot in the German Cup final; however, Bayern went on to lose in the final.

Manchester United wore their traditional red shirts, while Bayern Munich donned their grey and burgundy Champions League kit. Referee Pierluigi Collina has cited it as one of the most memorable matches of his career, due to the "lion's roar" from the crowd at the end of the game.

Pre-match

The day of the final would have been the 90th birthday of former Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby, who died in 1994, and was the only previous United manager to lead the team to a European Cup title (in 1968).

Team news

Manchester United captain Roy Keane and midfielder Paul Scholes both missed out on the final due to suspension.

Ten out of the starting eleven Bayern players were of Germanmarker nationality while only four English players started for Manchester United.

Match

Match summary

First half

Six minutes into the match, Ronny Johnsen clumsily fouled Bayern striker Carsten Jancker just outside the area, and Mario Basler duly swept home a low free kick around the United wall to hand his team the lead. Contrary to popular belief, the free kick was not a deflection, but rather swerved marvellously into Peter Schmeichel's left hand corner. Despite the bad start, United began to dominate possession but failed to create any clear cut chances despite David Beckham's tireless running. They seemed to be badly missing influential midfielders Paul Scholes and Roy Keane, both of whom were suspended for the final. The German defence remained strong and well organised, as Andy Cole found out when his close-range effort was quickly closed down by three defenders. As Bayern began to look increasingly more dangerous on the counter-attack than their opponents did in possession, Jancker repeatedly tested the United back four with a number of clever runs, some of which were flagged offside.

Cole once again found himself with a chance in the Bayern box, but keeper Oliver Kahn came hurtling out of his goal to punch the ball to safety. At the other end, Basler came close with another free kick before Alexander Zickler sent a shot just wide from the edge of the box. As half time approached, United winger Ryan Giggs, playing out of position on the right, sent a weak header towards Kahn from a Cole cross, but that was as close as they were to come to a goal in the first half.

Second half

The German team started the second half in a more positive mood with Jancker forcing a save from Schmeichel in the first minute of the restart. Basler was proving to be Bayern's most dangerous player, first firing a thirty-yard shot towards goal and then setting up a header for Markus Babbel, who missed the ball entirely. United put together their best move of the match so far on fifty-five minutes when, after a healthy period of possession, Giggs sent in a cross towards Jesper Blomqvist who could only knock the ball over the bar after a desperate stretch. Another chance for Basler prompted United manager Alex Ferguson to bring on striker Teddy Sheringham to try and regain control of the game. Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld responded with a substitution of his own, bringing on Mehmet Scholl, who immediately set up Stefan Effenberg for a long-range blast which flashed wide. Schmeichel kept his side in the game when tipping another Effenberg shot over the bar after seventy-five minutes. Scholl then almost scored from a delicate twenty yard chip after a mesmerising run from Basler, but the ball bounced back off the post and into the arms of a relieved Schmeichel. With the game seemingly drifting away from the English side, Ferguson introduced striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær with ten minutes remaining. The substitute immediately forced Kahn into a diving save with a header; the closest United had come to scoring all game. A minute later, Bayern missed a chance to secure the trophy when an overhead kick from Jancker crashed off the crossbar, leaving Schmeichel helpless once again. As the game crept into the last five minutes, United's two substitutes forced Kahn into more saves, firstly through a Sheringham volley and then from another Solskjær header.

Injury time

United won a corner just as the fourth official indicated three minutes of injury time, and in a last-ditch attempt at an equaliser, Peter Schmeichel ventured up to Bayern's penalty area. At this point, ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley asked: "Can Manchester United score? They always score!". Beckham flighted the corner in just over Schmeichel's head, Dwight Yorke put the ball back towards the crowded area, and after Thorsten Fink failed to clear sufficiently, the ball arrived at the feet of Ryan Giggs on the edge of the area. His right-footed snap-shot was weak and poorly struck, but it went straight to Sheringham, who swiped at the shot with his right foot, and nestled the ball in the bottom corner of the net. The goal was timed at 90:36. It looked as if, having been behind for most of the match, United had forced extra time, with Tyldesley declaring "Name on the trophy!".

Less than 30 seconds after the subsequent kick-off, United forced another corner, but Schmeichel stayed in his penalty area this time. Beckham again swung the corner in, which was headed downwards by Sheringham. Solskjær shot out a foot and poked the ball into the roof of the Bayern goal for United to take an astonishing lead. The goal was timed at 92:17. Solskjær celebrated by sliding on his knees, mimicking Basler's earlier celebration, before quickly being mobbed by the United players, substitutes and coaching staff. Schmeichel, in his own penalty area, famously cartwheeled with glee. Tyldesley's commentary on Solskjær's goal is famous among Manchester United fans for its direct nature: "Is this their moment? Beckham... into Sheringham... and Solskjær has won it!" Tyldesley again followed this with the exclamation, "Manchester United have reached the Promised Land."

The goal, the last of Manchester United's season, was the only one scored by Solskjær in the entire European competition.

The game restarted, but many Bayern players were virtually unable to continue and needed the assistance of referee Pierluigi Collina to drag themselves off the ground. They were stunned to have lost a game they had thought won just minutes before (several celebratory flares had already been ignited by the Munich fans moments before United equalised, and Bayern Munich ribbons had already been secured to the trophy itself in preparation for the presentation ceremony). United held onto their lead to record their second European Cup title. Samuel Kuffour memorably broke out in tears after the game, beating the floor in despair, and even the giant Carsten Jancker had collapsed in anguish. The television cameras also showed the expression of sheer disbelief on Lothar Matthäus's face after United's second goal went in - Matthäus having captained Bayern in the 1987 European Cup Final and lost in similar circumstances to two late FC Porto goals. He had been substituted with just four minutes remaining, with victory seemingly assured, and the European Cup was the only major trophy he had failed to win during his career. This led Clive Tyldesley to say: "What must Lothar Matthäus be thinking?", before adding: "Well, with the greatest respect, who cares?"

When the trophy was presented to Manchester United, the captain on the night, Peter Schmeichel, who had just finished his final match for the club, and manager Alex Ferguson raised the trophy together.

Match details

MANCHESTER UNITED:
GK 1 Peter Schmeichel (c)
RB 2 Gary Neville
CB 6 Jaap Stam
CB 5 Ronny Johnsen
LB 3 Denis Irwin
RM 11 Ryan Giggs
CM 8 Nicky Butt
CM 7 David Beckham
LM 15 Jesper Blomqvist
CF 9 Andy Cole
CF 19 Dwight Yorke
Substitutes:
GK 17 Raimond van der Gouw
DF 4 David May
DF 12 Philip Neville
DF 30 Wes Brown
MF 34 Jonathan Greening
FW 10 Teddy Sheringham
FW 20 Ole Gunnar Solskjær
Manager:
Alex Ferguson
BAYERN MUNICH:
GK 1 Oliver Kahn (c)
SW 10 Lothar Matthäus
RB 2 Markus Babbel
CB 4 Samuel Kuffour
CB 25 Thomas Linke
LB 18 Michael Tarnat
CM 16 Jens Jeremies
CM 11 Stefan Effenberg
RF 14 Mario Basler
CF 19 Carsten Jancker
LF 21 Alexander Zickler
Substitutes:
GK 22 Bernd Dreher
DF 5 Thomas Helmer
MF 7 Mehmet Scholl
MF 8 Thomas Strunz
MF 17 Thorsten Fink
MF 20 Hasan Salihamidžić
FW 24 Ali Daei
Manager:
Ottmar Hitzfeld
Man of the Match:

Mario Basler

Assistant referees:

Gennaro Mazzei

Claudio Puglisi

Reserve referee:


Fiorenzo Treossi


Aftermath

The game's ending was so unexpected that UEFA President Lennart Johansson had left his seat in the stands before Sheringham's equaliser to make his way down to the pitch in order to present the European Cup trophy, already decorated with Bayern ribbons. When emerging from the tunnel at the final whistle, he was stunned. "I can't believe it," he later said, "The winners are crying and the losers are dancing." When the two teams went to collect their medals, television viewers around the world watched as Matthäus removed his runners-up medal, almost before he received it. He never won the competition, having moved to play in the USAmarker for the New York MetroStars in the MLS before Bayern next won the European Cup in 2001. Matthäus later commented that "it was not the best team that won but the luckiest."

In winning the trophy, Manchester United became the first Englishmarker team to be crowned European Champions since the Heyselmarker ban in 1985, and also the first team to achieve a unique Treble in English Football, by winning the Premiership, FA Cup and European Cup in the same season. After becoming the first ever manager to achieve this honour, Alex Ferguson received a knighthood on 12 June 1999 in recognition of his services to the game of football. In the post-match interview, Ferguson produced his now legendary summation of the game: "Football, bloody hell!" The final also signalled Peter Schmeichel's last ever game for Manchester United after eight years of service.

The game attracted an average of 15 million viewers on British television with a peak audience of 19 million in injury time. The climax of the game was voted as the 4th greatest sporting moment ever by Channel 4 viewers in a poll in early 2002.

Manchester United became the first team to win the European Cup or Champions League having failed to be either the champions of Europe, champions of their country, or the winners of their country's domestic cup the preceding season. They had finished second in the 1997-98 season to Arsenal, but had qualified through UEFA's expanded format, which had been introduced a few seasons earlier. Had Bayern won the cup, they would have become the first team to achieve this feat, having also finished second in the Bundesliga to Kaiserslautern the season before.

After the Treble was secured, much debate arose amongst English football fans as to whether the 1999 Manchester United team was the greatest club side ever, alongside past European Cup winning teams.

United's Treble was the first managed since that of PSV Eindhoven in 1988, and the last until FC Barcelona completed their treble, 10 years later against United in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final.

See also



References

  1. The 1999 European Cup Final
  2. Italian referee Collina for European Cup Final
  3. The Quotes
  4. Barcelona: Quotes At A Glance
  5. Television spies a view to a kill
  6. Are Man Utd the best ever club side?


External links




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