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UEFA Champions League 2018-19: Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer repeat his Camp Nou heroics from 20 years ago?

Venkat Harish
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
1.15K   //    15 Mar 2019, 22:43 IST

The date was 26 May 1999. The packed crowd in Camp Nou was getting ready to see Bayern Munich lift the Champions League trophy.

Bayern were leading 1-0 after 90 minutes of regulation time. The German team were three minutes away from holding Europe's biggest football prize. But Manchester United had other plans.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 1999 UEFA Champions League Final
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 1999 UEFA Champions League Final

Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel came to the opposition box in expectation of a miracle. And the miracle happened; the entire stadium erupted after Teddy Sheringham equalized for United.

The crowd was expecting another 30 minutes of football in extra time. But Manchester United changed the plans again.

In the final minute of the injury time, they had a corner. David Beckham swung it to the near post, Sheringham headed it, and then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tapped it into the net.

The impossible had happened. Bayern Munich could not believe their misfortune, as Solskjaer had won it for United. The game is still considered one of the most memorable European Cup finals of all time.

Fast forward to 2019. Manchester United still have the magic man in their dressing room, but this time he is their manager. He is wearing a red tie instead of a red shirt with 20 at the back. 

Barcelona have been drawn to play Manchester United in this year's quarterfinal. Solskjaer will take the field as an underdog, just like he came on as a substitute in the 1999 final. He will have a bigger job to do this time than to score a goal though.

Can Solskjaer repeat his 1999 heroics as a manager in Camp Nou again?

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The answer is not a resounding 'no'. The way he has changed the mood in the United dressing room in just three months, he cannot be written off easily.

Manchester United are no way close to Barcelona in terms of football strengths. But this year's competition has shown that every team has a chance to win every fixture, irrespective of history. Solskjaer's United have proven it themselves against PSG.

Dreaming in football is no crime. How good would it be for United fans to see Solskjaer's substitute scoring a goal in the dying minutes at Camp Nou to take United into the semi-finals?

It can happen, because this is Manchester United.

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