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MANCHESTER UNITED'S HISTORY OF WINNINGS IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

 

 

The game of football is undoubtedly on off the most popular outdoor team games in the world. However, there are two forms of the game – rugby and association football, commonly known as soccer. Initially, the game started with inter-school competitions and gradually with growing popularity it has been globalized and has become an industry by itself. This game is no longer played as an amateur competition but professional approach to this game has taken it to a level far beyond its early format. At the professional level, several soccer clubs have come up where players from all over the world play together in league competitions like the Champions leagues or the Premier Leagues. Fans have also started earning money by online betting in different sports betting sites. Many online sportsbooks are avaiable on the market to assist the punters.

Manchester United, or briefly Man Utd is one such club in Europe, which has a huge fan following due to its stories of success. It has boasted recruiting star soccer players of international fame. All over the world its reputation has spread like wildfire as it is fondly called the ‘Red Devils’, which is attributed to the color of its jersey.  The club has an exemplary record of lifting 20 League titles and 3 European Cups. 

What is then the story of its success and how has it come about? 

The team was managed under the leadership of the legend Sir Alex Ferguson from 06/11/1986 until he relinquished his post on 19/05/2013.  During Sir Alex's management spell the team won 37 pieces of silverware on this journey and stood its ground as a team to be reckoned with in England. Sir Alex’s contribution to the success story is further established by the fact that since 2013, ManU has not won any Premier League title. In spite of this, Manchester United still continues to ride the popularity wave to all the football lovers within England and also outside it.  If we look at their performance, they are still the best English team in England since the last couple of decades.
 
Looking back at the history of Manchester United’s performance in the European Cup/Champions League we find that they have lifted the trophy three times and reached the final 5 times since winning thier 1st in 1968.

Sir Matt Busby was then the manager of the Red Devils, winning with a decisive 4-1 victory over Benfica. Bobby Charlton opened the scoring on 53'. The second goal also came from Charlton on 99' in extra time before George Best 92' and Brian Kidd 93' scored the next two goals.

In 1999 the team consisted of stellar players such as David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville. The opponets in the final were German Champions Bayern Munich at Camp Nou in Barcelona.  The Germans took an early lead in the 6th minute through a free-kick from Mario Basler. The Red Devils' super substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer turned round the game to their team’s favour with their heroic effort after each scoring in injury time Teddy Sheringham scoring 90'+1', Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scoring 90'+3'.  This was the second European Cup & the first under the management of Alex Ferguson, soon to be "Sir" Alex.

The Red Devils lifted the European Cup for the third time in 2008. The final was a face off of two English Clubs Manchester United and Chelsea played in Moscow. Cristiano Ronaldo struck first after 26'. In the 45' minute came an equalizer from Frank Lampard at full time & extra time the game went to a nail biting finish in the form of a penalty shootout.

The fans could not believe their eyes when Ronaldo missed his spot kick. However, luck was on the side of the Red Devils when John Terry, the Chelsea captain slipped and missed his penalty later a save from United keeper Edwin van der Sar from Anelka saw the trophy go to Manchester United.

(Penalty Shootout Breakdown)
MUFC: Carlos Tevez (+), Michael Carrick (+), Cristiano Ronaldo (X Saved), Owen Hargreaves (+), Nani (+), Anderson (+), Ryan Giggs (+). Chelsea: Michael Ballack (+), Juliano Belletti (+), Frank Lampard (+), Ashley Cole (+), John Terry (X Missed), Salomon Kalou (+), Nicholas Anelka (X Saved).

In English football Liverpool have the most European Cup triumphs having lifted the coveted triphy on six occasions.

Manchester United reached the final five times in 1968, 1999, 2008, 2009 and 2011 and clinched the title three times in 1968, 1999 and 2008. 

The year after winning the title in Moscow in 2008, Manchester United once again reached the final in 2009. In the knockout stages they defeated Inter Milan, Porto and Arsenal. In the final in Rome, Barcelona were the opponents alas on this occasion the magic did not work and they had to accept defeat thanks to goals from Samuel Ett'o 10', Lionel Messi 70'.

History repeated itself again two years later in 2011 at Wembley Stadium, London where the two teams met again. Pedro Rodriguez 27' struck first before United fans cheered as Wayne Rooney 34' scored an equalizer. The Red Devil fans wanted revenge but Lionel Messi 54' scored to take the lead for the Spanish side. The air still rang with optimism and the game was still open for both sides. However, David Villa 69' dampened the spirits of Man Utd’s fans by scoring the third goal for Barcelona and with it went the trophy.

In European football, Manchester United’s records prove their extraordinary performance. At time of press out of the 385 total number games played, the team has won 205 matches, and lost 84 of them. 96 matches ended in a draw.  The win percentage is an impressive 53.25%.  However, if Champions League/ European Cup games are considered separately, the win percentage is even higher.  Out of 279 matches played the team won 154 of them and lost only 59 matches.  Matches that were drawn number 59. The win percentage is calculated at 55.20%. 

Manchester United’s winning percentage in other European leagues is as follows:
Cup Winners Cup – 51.61%, Europa League/UEFA Cup – 47.62%, Intercontinental cup – 33.33%, Club World Cup – 60%.

Manchester United has established its reputation of being one, if not the biggest club in the world and the fanbase continues to rise.  Although all sporting activity has suffered a setback due to the COVID 19 virus, the fans are itching to watch their favourite team play as soon as possible.
 
West Cumbria Reds Branch Flag.......as seen behind the Stretford End @ all Home games
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