Goal of the Day: The King’s Peach
Wednesday's 'Goal of the Day' comes courtesy of our legendary no. 7, who helped us fight back against QPR on the way to retaining the title in 93/94.
Date: 30 October 1993, Old Trafford, Premier League
Background: Having ended United’s 26-year wait for a league title, Alex Ferguson set his side the challenge of retaining it; a task they gleefully took to in the opening weeks of 1993/94. By the time QPR arrived at Old Trafford, the Reds were streaking clear at the top of the table, so it represented a substantial shock when Bradley Allen’s early opener had the visitors ahead at the interval. Early in the second period, however, the game would turn on a moment of magic.
The goal: David Bardsley’s infield pass was neatly headed away by Paul Ince, steered into the path of Eric Cantona, who met the ball on the halfway line and neatly bypassed Rs defender Alan McDonald with a deft touch. Fellow centre-back Darren Peacock then fell foul of the Frenchman’s hypnotic body swerve – and an altogether less subtle shoulder-barge from Mark Hughes – before Cantona strode forward and arrowed a 25-yard effort into the Stretford End goal, via the inside of the post.
What happened next: Five minutes later, Hughes prodded in Roy Keane’s knock-down to put United ahead, and the Reds held on to move 11 points clear at the top of the table. The title was duly retained and supplemented by the FA Cup to secure the club’s first ever Double.
“When Cantona expresses himself fully, so do United, and the half-hour after the resumption was a vivid pageant,” gushed Patrick Barclay, of the Observer.
“Whatever Alex Ferguson said at half-time was unlikely to have been taken from a book of etiquette. But how it worked.”