United's moment had arrived.
After missing eight Champions League finals in a row since winning the Treble, Sir Alex Ferguson's men had finally made the difficult step. With history, pedigree and passion on their side, the diehard Reds who used boats, trains and planes to be in Moscow had every right to feel confident about United's third appearance in Europe's premier club fixture.
UEFA Champions League final
21 May 2008, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
MANCHESTER UNITED 1
(United win 6-5 on penalties)
On the pitch: Sir Alex made one change to the team which wrapped up the title at Wigan, preferring Owen Hargreaves to Ji-sung Park. Ryan Giggs, who would break Bobby Charlton's club appearances record, started on the bench. As for Chelsea, Ashley Cole recovered from the ankle injury he received from Claude Makelele in training. John Terry captained the side despite dislocating his elbow in the final league match against Bolton and Ricardo Carvalho beat a back injury to partner him.
Star man: Nemanja Vidic. Quite simply the best centre-back in the business limited Didier Drogba to one shot (albeit one that thumped against the post!) Frustration at being marshalled so well was probably a factor in the Chelsea striker's red mist moment - slapping his Serbian marker to receive his marching orders in extra time.
How United lined up: Van der Sar; Brown (Anderson 120), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Hargreaves, Scholes (Giggs 87), Ronaldo; Rooney (Nani 101), Tevez
Talking point: With the final in the 50th year after Munich and 40 years since United had first lifted the European Cup, the sense of destiny was almost tangible. And it seemed that fate had intervened when John Terry slipped during his run-up to send his shoot-out penalty and Edwin van der Sar coolly saved Nicolas Anelka’s sudden-death kick.
What the papers said: "At Old Trafford they believed that for sheer edge-of-the-seat, heart-stopping drama 1999 would never be beaten. And then at 1.35 Moscow time this morning,