Goal of the Day: Ruud awakening for Basel
Today's strike is a memorable effort from our destructive Dutchman, against FC Basel in a Champions League group stage tie 17 years ago...
Date: 26 November 2002, St Jakob Stadium, UEFA Champions League
Background: Ruud van Nistelrooy had already filled his boots in the 2002/03 Champions League campaign with six goals, including two in the qualifying stage, as Phase 2 kicked off at the end of November (in those days there were two separate group stages in the UCL, remember). Ruud had scored 10 goals for United in his debut European campaign the year before and it turned out he was only getting warmed up.
What happened next: The remarkable turnaround was complete five minutes later when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it 3-1. Ruud ended that season with 12 goals in the Champions League proper – a then-tournament record, despite United exiting at the quarter-final stage to Real Madrid.
Reaction: Justifying his selection as man-of-the-match, the next issue of matchday
programme United Review stated:
“You need reasons? It's the way he makes it look so
devastatingly simple. lt's the way he went past the Basel defence like it wasn't there for that
goal. It's the unconfined joy that follows every goal. Eighteen of them in 20 European games and
he's just getting started.”