One of the most spectacular games in the modern era of the Champions League, in which then Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson had an unusually lucky hand in making a substitution. The two players he sent on to the pitch during the game decided the duel with Bayern Munich in the setup within 3 minutes.
Bayern Munich struck early in the game
The final was then played at the shrine of Barcelona at Camp Nou on 26 May 1999. The match was watched by an incredible 90,245 spectators and was officiated by Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, who infamously made his mark on Czech fans a year later at Euro 2000, where he managed to hand out red cards to the Czech national team even on the bench.
The goals were scored by legends of European football. On the Red Devils side it was Peter Schmeichel, in the Munich goal it was Oliver Kahn. The game saw an early goal in the sixth minute. Ronny Johnsen fouled Carsten Jancker behind the big whitewash, Mario Basler took the ball to a free direct kick and from this opportunity he beat the Danish goalkeeper.
Manchester United overwhelming dominance in possession
The Manchester United team then took the initiative of the match. They had a huge advantage in ball possession, but this did not translate into an immediate threat to Kahn’s goal. He did have the ball stuck on his kicks, but nothing came of it.
The Bayern team had a formed defense and didn’t allow any major threats to their goal. The score remained unchanged until the end of the half, with the German side holding a narrow lead and going into the cabins with a 0:1 scoreline.
The Munich team was much more active in the second half and threatened Schmeichel’s goal several times. Basler was very dangerous, he had a great chance himself and he prepared another one for his teammates, but with no result.
Ferguson’s lucky hand in the substitution
Not for nothing is Alex Ferguson one of the best coaches of the modern era of football. In the 67th minute, he sent on Teddy Sheringham, the first hero of the game, to replace Swedish midfielder Jesper Blomqvist, and in the 81st minute he sent on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to replace Andy Cole.
A seemingly normal substitution, what was supposed to boost the team’s offensive effort. The scoreboard remained unchanged until the end of the 90th minute. The German Bayern fans were thus logically slowly beginning to celebrate their team’s victory. The referee Collina set only 3 minutes and nobody expected anything major to change.
3 minutes of a dream sequence
However, fate willed it otherwise and the setup marked one of the biggest turning points in football history in modern times. In the 91st minute of the match, David Beckham took a corner kick with goalkeeper Schmeichel already in the box.
The Bayern players failed to clear the ball from the immediate vicinity of Kahn’s goal, and the ball came to the feet of the first hero, Sheringham, who shot through everything in his path from the edge of the large area.
Just two minutes later, the players stepped up the pressure so much that in the 93rd minute Beckham again took a corner, which was converted by the second hero of the match Solskjaer, and the historic turnaround was completed.
The Red Devils celebrated their second Champions League victory in their history. The first time they won was in 1968, when the competition was called PMEZ (European Champions Cup). The moment of a crying Samuel Kuffour, who couldn’t believe that Bayern had lost the match in just 3 minutes, flew around the world.
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