Moscow crowned new Manchester United legends as the Red Devils beat Chelsea 6-5 in a penalty shoot out to win the European Champions League.
On a night heavy with fate, destiny and calling, the young stars of this current Manchester United squad, Rooney, Tevez, Hargreaves, Brown, Evra, Vidic, Nani, Anderson, and the undoubted star of the team, Christiano Ronaldo, reached the hights attained by Beckham, Solsjaer, Stam, Schemiecle, Giggs, Yorke, Cole and the 99 treble winners by lifting club footballs biggest prize.
50 years since the Munich tragedy, 40 years since United first won the European Cup, under Busby and with Best, Law and Charlton, on the day a true legend of the game, Ryan Giggs, broke the clubs appearance record, and the day Paul Scholes finally got to play in a Champions League Final, United let fate lead them to victory.
After taking the lead through Ronaldo and enjoying the best of the opening period, only for Chelsea to draw level through a bad bounce off a United defender, a slip from van der Saar, and the persistence of Lampard, United survived a stronger showing from Chelsea in the second half, Lampard and Drogba both hitting the bar, 30 more minutes of extra time, and Chelsea given the opportunity to win on penalties with the score on 4-4 and Terry missed. United scored their next penalties and when van der Saar saved from Anelka United were European Champions for the 3rd time in their history, and the 2nd time under Sir Alex. Giggs, Scholes and Brown also collected their 2nd winners medals.
United had chances to win during the game, Cech made two great saves early on from Tevez and Carrick, Tevez almost slid in another time, and then Chelsea had their share of chances, but the result appeared to be destined towards a United win – and thats what happened.
For Chelsea it ends a season to forget, the finished runners up in the Community Shield, the League Cup, the Premiership and the Champions League. It was a season of almosts that ended with nothing. Avram Grant is not sure if he’ll be around next season, and if he isn’t it would mean his spell in charge was book cased between two losses to Manchester United. Drogba too may be on his way out, and if he is his last appearance for Chelsea ended in a red card, for a slap at Vidic, and surely he would have taken one of the penalties, seriously letting down his team.
If this United team were to justify their billing as the best ever they had to win in Europe. They have now. They’ll want to do it again now. But for now, congradulations – and enjoy.
Manchester United – champions of England and champions of Europe.