The Tournament of Legends

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

1998/99 Juventus 2-3 Man Utd (aggregate 3-4) semi final

United's glorious comeback

Manchester United were through to their first European Cup final in 31 years after a night of great drama in Turin. They became the first English club in 14 years to reach the continent's biggest match with an amazing comeback against Juventus. After 11 minutes Filippo Inzaghi ensured United were 2-0 down in the second-leg of their semi-final in Turin. But with 34 minutes gone, the Manchester club were ahead on away goals following goals from Roy Keane and Dwight Yorke.

After withstanding the Italian side's pressure through the second half, Andy Cole made sure of their success with seven minutes to go. United's only long-term setbacks were bookings to midfielders Keane and Paul Scholes, which ruled both out of the final against Bayern Munich .



The match in Turin began with news that the injured Ryan Giggs was not fit enough to even take a place on the bench, and it got worse for United as soon as the action began. Inzaghi scored the first after just six minutes, when the Italian side won a corner. It was taken short by Zinedine Zidane to Angelo Di Livio, who clipped the ball ball back to the Frenchman. He fizzed a cross to the far-post where Inzaghi finished after shaking off Gary Neville's desperate challenge.

See more great Man Utd clips at Manchester United Legends.

Inzaghi's second was a shot from the Juventus left, which deflected off Jaap Stam and looped over Peter Schmeichel. United knew before the game that they would have to score at least once to get through. Now they needed twice that figure to have a chance. The 24th minute saw a corner bring them their first, as poor marking allowed Keane to score a header past Angelo Peruzzi.

Juventus were rattled, although Zidane continued to be influential. That fact was recognised by Keane, who brought him down and was inevitably punished with a yellow card. The equaliser came 10 minutes after United's first goal, as Yorke met Cole's right wing cross with his head to beat Peruzzi with ease. Again the Juve marking was poor in the absence of defender Paolo Montero, who was not fit enough to start, but sitting on the bench. Minutes later the Trinidad and Tobago international almost made it two when he hit the post after more good work with his strike partner.

Half-time saw Juventus making the first changes as Montero replaced Mark Juliano and striker Nicola Amoruso came on to provide Inzaghi with a strike partner. Juve soon started to threaten and United's central defensive pairing of Ronny Johnsen and the excellent Stam were forced to stay alert whenever the Italian side came forward. Cole wasted a glorious chance to give United an aggregate lead and Dennis Irwin hit a post, but these were rare breaks as the Italian pressure increased. Inzaghi did have the ball in the net again on 61 minutes, but a linesman's flag correctly denied him his hat-trick.

Substitute Scholes came on for Jesper Blomqvist and received his yellow card for a two-footed challenge, with a quarter of an hour remaining. Uruguayan striker Daniel Fonseca was the next new arrival, but his first touch was to clear a Cole header off the line at a corner. There were just 10 minutes left and Juve clearly planned to play three up front with Fonseca replacing Di Livio. The South American almost created a goal with his second touch as his cutback was missed by everyone in the box.

But United were not just hanging on, and were enjoying plenty of posession to deny the men in black and white. And they made sure of their night in Barcelona in May when Yorke ran clear as Juve pushed forward. Yorke was brought down by Peruzzi but the referee played the advantage and Cole was able to run through and tap the ball into an empty net. The Italian side knew they were beaten and their fans streamed out of the ground as the party started for the travelling supporters.


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