Andy Cole in action

Cole goal was poetry in motion

Some goals are just so beautiful, they leave you in awe. A move that lasted around six seconds in November 1998 was such an example, taking the breath away with its perfect execution.

Manchester United and Barcelona had already shared six goals at Old Trafford two months earlier, and the sides met again at the Nou Camp for a second encounter in what was known as ''the Group of Death“ in that season's Champions League. The scoreline would, ultimately, be the same, but one of the strikes will live forever in the memory of any Reds fan who witnessed it.

There had been signs that Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole could form a deadly partnership, but this was the moment the duo revealed a rare telepathic understanding that would propel Alex Ferguson’s team towards unprecedented glory. If ever something clicked, it was at this moment on 25 November 1998.

Andy Cole tussles with Michael Reiziger
Relive the brilliant combination goal, scored by Andy Cole.

Roy Keane rolled the ball inside from the right of midfield and Yorke did something out of the ordinary. The Trinidad & Tobago international, who had only signed from Aston Villa in the previous summer, threw a clever dummy and spun to burst forward. Such a trick instantly shifts the dynamic of a move, cranks it up to top gear and unhinges even the best of defences.

By bursting into space, Yorke demanded Cole return the ball to him. He did just that, with his right foot, and continued to provoke a sense of panic in the Catalan ranks. Yorke could have advanced himself, particularly with Michael Reiziger moving to anticipate a pass back into the middle, but his instant return managed to dissect the two Barca defenders in close attendance.

In a flash, the hosts were completely undone. Cole took the ball without breaking stride, had the luxury of making a touch to steady himself and was suddenly inside the penalty area, centrally placed, and ready to round off the most incredible of team goals.

There was still the small matter of finishing, though, but he perhaps went for the more difficult option of shooting to Ruud Hesp’s right, leaving the keeper with no chance. United were 2-1 in front, but the goal would have wider repercussions.

This was footballing poetry in motion. Cole and Yorke in perfect harmony. A strike partnership on the same wavelength in a huge game at one of the world’s most iconic stadiums. A moment – and a goal – to treasure.

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Dwight Yorke heads home.
Watch full highlights of the 3-3 draw at the Nou Camp.