03/07/2012 10:55, Report by Steve Bartram
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United: Big in Japan

at bay. At the other end, a close-range finish from skipper Roy Keane provided the only goal of the game and ensured United ended the 20th Century as the world’s best.

Thunderbolts and lightning
United were due to face Urawa Red Diamonds in the inaugural Vodafone Cup at Old Trafford in 2004, only for the elements to decree otherwise. Boca Juniors and PSV Eindhoven made up the remainder of the four-way tournament. United beat the Dutch 1-0 and Boca overcame Urawa 5-2, but before the J-League side could face the hosts, a lightning storm prompted the abandonment of the tournament.

"Bring on the Martians"
United’s second stint as world champions was also secured in Japan. In the rejigged FIFA Club World Cup, the Reds first overcame AFC Champions League winners Gamba Osaka in an eight-goal thriller, then squeaked past Ecuador’s LDU Quito. Upon securing global rule, the small band of travelling supporters in Yokohama cheered: “Bring on the Martians.”

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