“And Solksjaer has won it!”

Matthew Hanzel Avatar

There are only so many times in my life when my heart pounded like that. I think I could actually hear my own heartbeat during that passing minutes. As the referee went to the VAR screen, looking whether a penalty should be given or not.

And it was given. And it was converted.

It was the first time I watched a Champions League match since I don’t know what year. The timing of the match is really bad, at 3 in the morning on business day. Luckily, it was public holiday, and so I decided to watch.

Manchester United should have been eliminated. Circumstances were against them. Down 2-0 from a home defeat, against one of the most talented squads in Europe, leaders of the French League, with a staggering 10 injured first team members, and no team has ever done a comeback from a 2-goal deficit at home to turn the fixture away to their favor.

As the Champions League Anthem was being played, I was just hoping that the game would turn out exciting. At least, United should be given the chance to keep their heads high. That should do it, or so I thought

111 minutes into the first half, Lukaku scored. Some sloppy defending, 10 minutes later, PSG equalized. At half hour mark, Lukaku suddenly scored again, and at half time, all of a sudden, United led by 2 goals to 1, even if they were behind 3-2 on aggregate.

I was planning to only watch for the first half, but looking at the 45-minute mark, I knew I should continue watching. It was that strong feeling that United got this.

Second half started. PSG seemed to have relaxed a bit. Some of the shots even hit the post. Then it reminded me of the 1999 Champions League Final. Munich were a goal ahead, and then they went completely unlucky, kissing the bar and the post a couple times. 

Putting in Mason Greenwood, a 17-year old academy player was also a great gesture from the caretaker manager. It is in United’s DNA to put faith in young players. 

After Dalot and Greenwood were played, PSG went deeper, and Dalot just took that lucky shot that hit Kimpembe’s elbow. 

3-1 at the 93rd minute, just appropriate for Solksjær, the player who famously scored the winning goal of the 1999 Champions League Final, at around the 93rd minute of the final (inside the 3-minute stoppage time).

The team that shouldn’t have qualified, now not only they won the tie (against one of the world’s most expensive squad, no less), they overturned the deficit, and through to the last 8. 

That’s United in a nutshell. Solksjær was correct. This was not the old Manchester United—this is Manchester United.

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