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Remembering The Time Manchester United Gave Roma A Footballing Masterclass In The Champions League

Thomas Harvey

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Remembering The Time Manchester United Gave Roma A Footballing Masterclass In The Champions League

Exactly 14 years ago, Manchester United gave Roma a masterclass in football.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Italy where Paul Scholes had been sent off, the Red Devils had it all to do in the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford.

But they blew their opponents away, triumphing 7-1 to progress to the semi-final.

Three goals in eight first-half minutes put United in the ascendency. Michael Carrick curled in the opener in the 12th minute to level the scores on aggregate. "1-0 will do for Manchester United," ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley said.

The hosts could smell blood, though, and Alan Smith fired home on 17 minutes. Darren Fletcher, John O'Shea, Cristiano Ronaldo, Smith and Ryan Giggs then combined to set up Rooney for the third of the night in the 19th minute.

Ronaldo got his first Champions League goal just before half-time when he fired into the bottom corner and then slid home a Giggs cross moments after the restart before Carrick smashed home a sixth on the hour mark.

Roma replied through Daniele De Rossi in the 69yth minute but Patrice Evra's low shot late on rounded off United's 8-3 aggregate win. It was an utter annihilation.

Reflecting on the match, Roma boss Luciano Spalletti said: "What would I change if I could do it again? Stay at home."

It was the first time since 1968 that a United side had won so comprehensively in Europe's premier club competition. The opposition for Sir Matt Busby's team then were the novices of Waterford.

Edwin van der Sar summed up the occasion when he said: "I've never seen a performance like that in my life. It wasn't that Roma played badly. We were just very, very good."

Sir Alex Ferguson was in raptures. The United manager said: "That has to be one of our best performances. It was an incredible night for us.

"I hope we will play some very good football between now and the end of the season but I'm not sure that we'll get that many goals again."

United went out at the next stage to AC Milan who went on to beat Liverpool in the final.

Topics: Manchester United, Roma, Champions League

Thomas Harvey
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