Can you name the Manchester United starting XI from one of their most famous victories?
In 2008, Man United recorded a 1-0 victory over Barcelona at Old Trafford in the second leg of a Champions League semi-final.
Alex Ferguson’s side went on to win the final on penalties against Chelsea in Moscow, to claim their third European Cup crown.
However, the victory over Barca arguably marked the high-point of United’s last great team under the Scot.
United were in a transition period just two seasons before they conquered Europe and added another Premier League title. Chelsea were dominating and the Red Devils had experienced some relatively fallow years.
Roy Keane, the club’s inspirational captain, departed in acrimonious circumstances in November 2005. At the end of that season, Ruud van Nistelrooy followed him out of the Old Trafford exit door. The Dutch striker, like Keane, departed after falling out with Ferguson.
The United manager’s plans to rebuild the team around his brilliant young players were almost scuppered before the new season kicked off, when Cristiano Ronaldo was blamed for helping get Wayne Rooney sent-off in the World Cup quarter-final between Portugal and England.
Ronaldo reportedly wanted out. However, Fergie worked his magic and the Portuguese star stayed at Old Trafford. He then transformed from a flaky winger into a powerhouse forward. Ronaldo and Rooney ripped-up the Premier League and United won their first title in four years.
Carlos Tevez joined that summer and United set about conquering Europe. Barcelona were waiting for them in the semi-finals. The first leg ended goalless in the Nou Camp, after Ronaldo missed a penalty, and the Catalan club were favourites for the return leg in Manchester.
However, a spectacular long-range strike from Paul Scholes early in the tie gave United the win on the night. Old Trafford erupted as the midfielder’s strike flew past Victor Valdes.
Ferguson’s team held on to claim a poignant and era-defining victory. 50 years after the Munich air disaster and 40 years after their first European Cup victory, United were back in the final. While Scholes, who missed the 1999 Champions League victory through suspension, was the hero on the night.
A year later, Barcelona outclassed Man United in the European Cup final in Rome and United’s great team began to fade. Ronaldo and Tevez left and Ferguson’s side entered a period of decline.
When United reached the Champions League final again in 2011, Barcelona were several levels above them – playing them off the pitch at Wembley in a 3-1 victory.
However, the victory over Barca arguably represents the high-point of the era for United.
Old Trafford was shaken to its foundations in a way that hasn’t been felt since. United dispatched probably the most talented team in the world at the time and went on to win the tournament.
You have five minutes to name Man United’s starting team from that night.
(You just have to enter their surnames in the box below).
Let us know what score you get. Good luck.
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(Originally published on February 12, 2020).