The UEFA Champions League; The 62 year old, most prestige league which is played among the best European football clubs. The winners of the national leagues followed by a few other teams compete with each other on a continental level.
Among all the English clubs that have competed in UCL, Manchester United happens to be the best with 131 wins and 50 loses.
Even though, United have won the Champions league title only thrice, there have been some thrilling matches that can be counted as their best victories in UCL.
The most trilling start has to be when United won the league for the very first time under the coach Matthew Busby. The team of 66-68 had an interesting semifinal against the Real Madrid. As the pattern of the UCL follows, the two semi-finals matches took place at both of clubs home ground.
The first match was won by United at their home ground by 1-0. George Best netted the goal. The second match which was an away game for United was a little more exciting and resulted in a draw of 3-3 with four of RMA’s players on scoresheet as Zoco scored an own goal for United.
However, the aggregate was of 3-4 sending MUFC to the finals.
The final of that season was played at Wembley the national ground of England versus the Portugal club Benfica. United very much dominated the match by scoring 4 goals while Benfica scored just 1.
Sir Bobby Charlton, who was the captain of the team at the time, appeared twice on the scoresheet (53’, 99’ ET) along with George Best (92’ ET) and Brain Kidd (94’ ET).
The next few seasons however weren’t great for The Red Devils but there sure were some exciting matches played.
The 1996 quarterfinal against Porto was one of such match where the away game resulted in a draw but the home game resulted in 4-0 with Cantona, Andy Cole, Ryan Giggs and David May on the scoresheet.
Another such exciting match was played in season of 1997-98 against Juventus. Even though it was group stage match, it was tight and was won by just one goal difference at Old Trafford. It rained goals in the match and resulted in 3-2.
Juventus’s Del Piero giving lead to the team by scoring a goal in the very first minute of the match. With pressure on United, the team finally equalized in 37th minute when Teddy Sheringham hit the ball in the net.
Scholes and Giggs scored in the 69th and 89th minute respectively. And Zidane scored the second goal for Juventus in the 90th minute.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s United won the Champions League for the second time in this season. Roy Keane the captain of the team lifted the Champions league trophy proudly.
They faced Brøndby in group stages and trashed the team by scoring 6 goals against them in an away match. Giggs (2’, 20’), Cole (27’), Keane (55’), Yorke (60’), Solskjær (62’) made it on scoresheet.
The Red Devils met Juventus in the semis, the home game of United resulted in draw, 1-1 when Conte scored in the 25th minute of the game and Giggs equalised at 90’+2’.
But the Red Devils dominated the away game with score 2-3. Inzaghi scored the two goals for Juventus while Keane, Yorke and Cole scored for United. However Manchester United won on aggregate of 3-4.
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich is one of the most exciting finals in the history of Champions League. The match was played in Barcelona at Camp Nou.
And even when Bayern was leading the match with an early 6th minute goal kicked in by Basler, the German Club lost the finals with the most amazing comeback when United equalized at 90’+1’ minute and won the match when Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored the second goal at 90’+3’ minutes.
Sir Alex and Roy lifted the trophy taking it back to OT.
The quarterfinals of this season seemed an interesting one for the United as in the first quarterfinals Roma won the match at their home ground by 2-1. In order to qualify for the semis the United needed at least three goals and a clean sheet.
To everyone’s surprise, the Red Devils turned the tables when they crushed Roma at Old Trafford. They scored 7 and conceded one. Carrick, Smith, Rooney, Ronaldo, Evra were on scoresheet and the aggregate reached to 8-3 taking United to the Semifinals.
However, we lost by aggregate of 5-3 against AC Milan the eventual league winners.
Manchester United faced the FC Barcelona in the semis of this season. With a though match and nil-nil score at Barcelona home, the match went ahead to the second semi final which was played at Old Trafford.
Scholes scored an early 14th minute goal with which United qualified for the Finals.
Another season and another nail biting final. The two English Clubs fought for the trophy in Moscow, Standion Luzhniki stadium. Ronaldo scored a header in 26th minute which was soon equalized by Lampard at 45th minutes.
The match went to penalties. Chelsea had a chance of winning when Ronaldo the star striker missed the third penalty, but lost it when the captain John Terry slipped and missed the fifth penalty.
However, Manchester United won the league by 6-5 on penalties when Edwin Van Der Sar saved Nicolas Anelka’s efforts in Chelsea’s 7th kick.
The previous season champions had an exciting semi-final when they faced Arsenal. It’s not hidden how the top clubs of EPL fight each other for the top four position on the table with which comes the unsaid rivalry.
The Gunners and Devils faced each other at home grounds. At OT, united won the match by 1-0 when O’ Shea kicked the ball in at 17th minute. But United at Arsenal completely dominated. The match resulted in 1-3, Van Persie on the score sheet along with Ronaldo and Park Ji-Sung qualifying united for the finals.
However, United lost in the finals to the Spanish club Barcelona with clear margin of 2-0.
The quarterfinals of this season was again between two English clubs. Chelsea was facing United again this season. The match at Stamford Bridge was won by the Devils when the star striker Rooney kicked the ball in the net at 24th minute.
The Devils dominated at home match too with score of 2-1 which aggregated to 3-1 further qualifying United. However, once again United lost the finals giving away the title to Barcelona.
Even though, United have won the title just thrice, the club has definitely had historic moments in the league and thrilling matches which will be forever talked about.