Five times United have excelled in Italy
Manchester United will play in Italy for the first time in eight years when facing Juventus on Wednesday night, in our second meeting in UEFA Champions League Group H.
Jose Mourinho's men will arrive in Turin determined to improve on last month's 1-0 home defeat at the hands of a Juve side featuring former United star Cristiano Ronaldo, and can perhaps draw inspiration from these previous visits to the Bel Paese...
Inter Milan 1 Manchester United 1, San Siro, 17 March 1999
Prior to our Treble-winning season, the Reds had lost on all previous trips to Italy, with Norman Whiteside scoring the only goal in the club's six matches there. Also, we had never beaten a Serie A side in a two-legged European tie but all the above was about to change when Sir Alex Ferguson’s team arrived at the San Siro for a quarter-final second-leg match in March 1999. United were 2-0 up from the first leg at Old Trafford and that remained the state of play on aggregate until the 63rd minute in Milan when Inter netted through Nicola Ventola. Thereafter, the Italians threatened to level the tie but two minutes from time, Paul Scholes popped up with an away goal that left the hosts needing to score three more times to deny the Reds a place in the Champions League semi-finals. Game over!
Juventus 2 Manchester United 3, Stadio Delle Alpi, 21 April 1999
This game is now regarded as one of our most famous European nights but, after just 10 minutes, it looked like being an evening to forget. An early double from Filippo Inzaghi seemed to have shattered the Reds’ Treble dreams, leaving Sir Alex’s men 3-1 down on aggregate against one of the best defensive teams on the continent. However, United once again demonstrated that trademark never-say-die attitude to turn our fortunes around. Roy Keane - who would miss the final after being booked in this game - headed the Reds back on track in the 24th minute before Dwight Yorke made it 2-2 on the night and 3-3 overall just before half-time. Jaap Stam and co at the back kept out Juventus in the second period, giving Andy Cole the platform to net a dramatic winner with five minutes remaining to secure our place in the final of Europe’s elite competition for the first time in 31 years.
Juventus 0 Manchester United 3, Stadio Delle Alpi, 25 February 2003
Four years later, Juve were still one of Europe’s most dominant teams but a side including Gianluigi Buffon, Edgar Davids and Pavel Nedved were blown away by a rampant United in the second group phase. A first-half double from Ryan Giggs, who came on as an early substitute for the injured Diego Forlan, put the Reds in control before Ruud van Nistelrooy added a third after the break. The scintillating attacking display in Turin meant United cruised into the Champions League's last eight, still with two group games to play. Juventus eventually joined the Reds in going through, despite finishing with the same number of points as Basel and Deportivo La Coruna, and ultimately reached the final at Old Trafford where they lost 3-2 on penalties to fellow Italian giants AC Milan. Sir Alex's men bowed out in the quarter-finals after a thrilling clash with Real Madrid.
Roma 0 Manchester United 2, Stadio Olimpico, 1 April 2008
The Reds got the better of Italian opposition, in the form of AS Roma, on the way to winning the Champions League in 2007/08. In a daunting arena, United emerged from the quarter-final first leg with a comfortable victory thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a vintage performance from the Reds, who also kept a crucial clean sheet with the aid of a superb Edwin van der Sar save from Mirko Vucinic’s header. In the second leg at Old Trafford, Carlos Tevez sealed a 1-0 win for United, who prevailed 3-0 on aggregate to set up a semi-final tie with Barcelona.
AC Milan 2 Manchester United 3, San Siro, 16 February 2010
Milan have always proved to be one of our toughest opponents in Europe, and we were anticipating another difficult night on our last visit to Italy in 2010, when a certain David Beckham lined up for La Rossoneri. After falling behind to an early Ronaldinho strike, the Reds regrouped and Scholes found the net with a mishit volley which actually came off his standing leg. Rooney then completed the turnaround with two fine headers to give us a promising 3-1 lead. Clarence Seedorf pulled a goal back for the seven-time European champions to ensure the tie remained close heading into the second leg, but United ended up winning that one 4-0 with arguably one of our best European displays in recent years.
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