#Treble99: United 1 Juventus 1
Twenty years ago to the day, a late goal at Old Trafford against Juventus played a crucial role in Manchester United’s journey towards Champions League glory.
On 7 April 1999, Sir Alex Ferguson and his men were looking to become the first English team in 14 years to reach the final of European football’s most prestigious tournament, while Juventus were searching for a place in a fourth consecutive Champions League final.
At the time, the Turin club boasted arguably the best team in Europe and, before the match, Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that it would be a tough game for United. “Juventus have fantastic experience and have been over the course time and time again,” he acknowledged.
Giggs fires high into the net to ensure parity on a difficult night against Juventus.
In the first half, the Italian outfit took the lead through a well worked goal from Antonio Conte, who latched onto a through ball from his fellow midfield colleague Edgar Davids.
That goal put La Vecchia Signora 1-0 up, and also meant they had bagged themselves a vital away goal, which so often prove crucial in Champions League fixtures.
The second half saw Sir Alex’s team start to create more chances, as they worked their way back into the game following a first period in which Juventus had piled on the pressure.
As the game entered stoppage time, a cross from David Beckham pinged about the box before falling to the feet of Ryan Giggs, who made no mistake in firing into the roof of the net from close range.
The score was level at last.
Old Trafford erupted into absolute joy. With United having to travel to Turin for the final leg of the tie – and having never won on Italian soil – the Reds knew how important the goal was in keeping their hopes of reaching the final alive.
The 1998/99 competition may be primarily remembered for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s historic late winner against Bayern Munich in the final, but Giggs’s late goal against Juventus in the semi-final was an important one, and a key step on the club’s route to European glory and the Treble.
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