Juventus knocked out by stunning United sucker punch

Delle Alpi, Turin – 21/04/1999 – Semi-finals
Juventus
Juventus
Inzaghi 6, 11
2 - 3
Man. United
  • Keane 24
  • Yorke 34
  • Cole 83
Man. United
Back from the brink

"Unbelievable, just unbelievable. To win the game how we won the game – phenomenal." Andrew Cole

1998/99

• Manchester United FC scored a record 20 goals in the group stage – including six in 3-3 draws home and away against Spanish champions FC Barcelona – and advanced despite winning just two of their six games.

• Juventus, Galatasaray AŞ and Rosenborg BK all finished level on eight points in Group B; the Turkish and Norwegian sides missed out on head to head record while Juve took top spot despite winning just one game.

• FC Dynamo Kyiv forward Andriy Shevchenko and Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke finished joint top scorers with eight goals apiece, the latter in his first season of UEFA Champions League football.

Staring into the abyss, Manchester United FC had one advantage over Juventus – his name was Roy Keane.

Such was the Republic of Ireland midfielder's influence in Turin, United may as well have had an extra player; there was one Keane to supplement their attack, and another Keane to stifle Juve. He was immense.

Dismissed as "kids" only a few seasons previously, United's homegrown youngsters had developed into genuine European pretenders but had to tap into youthful abandon when a 1-1 first-leg draw quickly became a 3-1 aggregate deficit.

Poacher extraordinaire, Filippo Inzaghi, was the man to inflict the early damage. Just six minutes had gone when the wily Italian international shrugged off Gary Neville to bundle in Zinédine Zidane's cross from close range. He soon had a second, looping a shot over Peter Schmeichel from the acutest of angles thanks to a hefty deflection off Jaap Stam.

United suddenly needed two goals but, fortunately for them, Keane was not a man to give up without a fight. Hassling and harrying throughout, the tenacious No16 showed in a flash his impeccable timing at the other end on 24 minutes, heading David Beckham's corner past Angelo Peruzzi.

Then, just after the half-hour, came a booking which ruled him out of the final. Not one to go into his shell, though, such punishment merely served to add more fuel to the considerable fire already in Keane's belly. His side were level moments later, Dwight Yorke peeling off his defender and swooping to head Andrew Cole's cross past Peruzzi.

Yorke struck the woodwork before the half was up, but Juve were no shrinking violets themselves and were on top after the interval. Inzaghi did find the net once more but, the man once labelled as being "born offside" by Sir Alex Ferguson, was just that.

United finally found their feet again only to be denied – this time Denis Irwin was the victim – by the inside of a post for a second time. No matter. With seven minutes left Yorke danced through the hosts' defence and, felled by Peruzzi, saw his accomplice Cole on hand to tap into the empty net.

A sizeable travelling contingent went into raptures – their team had reached a first European Cup showpiece in 31 years, beating Juventus in Turin to do it. Could it get better than that? Even without Keane, you bet it could.

Star players

  • Inzaghi

    For two decades the Italy striker, a classic goal poacher, was an unwelcome presence on the back of the last defender. He won the 1998 Scudetto before Juventus sold him to AC Milan and made his former employers pay as new club beat old in the 2003 UEFA Champions League final. Inzaghi always saved his best for the European stage, and scored twice in the showpiece against Liverpool FC four years later.

  • Keane

    Combustible, intense and aggressive, Keane brought a new meaning to the term 'box-to-box midfielder'. Eric Cantona's successor as Manchester United FC captain, Keane won seven Premier Leagues and four FA Cups at Old Trafford. He missed out on the 1999 UEFA Champions League final having been booked during a memorable display against Juventus in the last four, and after winning the Scottish title with Celtic FC the Republic of Ireland international turned to management.

  • Cole

    Blessed with neither lightning pace nor striking physical attributes, Cole's one outstanding quality was his uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time. After a prolific spell with Newcastle United FC, he moved to Manchester United FC for a then British record fee. Cole won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the 1999 UEFA Champions League under Sir Alex Ferguson, forming potent partnerships with Dwight Yorke and Teddy Sheringham.

What happened next?

• Manchester United FC were crowned European champions for the second time with a dramatic victory over FC Bayern München, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær scoring at the death for a 2-1 win.

• That triumph completed a memorable treble for United, who won their sixth Premier League title in eight seasons and claimed the FA Cup with victory against Newcastle United FC in the final at Wembley.

• Juventus finished sixth in Serie A, 16 points adrift of champions AC Milan. Marcello Lippi was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti that summer but returned to the helm in 2001 after two second-placed finishes.

• During his second spell, Lippi's Juve were twice beaten by United in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League second group stage but reached the final at Old Trafford, where they lost on penalties to Milan.

• Sir Alex Ferguson has passed 25 years as United manager, reaching a further three UEFA Champions League showpieces but winning only one, in 2008. FC Barcelona defeated them in 2009 and 2011.

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