I would argue that the greatest football match ever was the F.A. Cup Semi-Final Replay between Arsenal and Man Utd at Villa Park in the Spring of 1999. This is the year of the famous Treble that was attained by Man Utd, if they secured the F.A. Cup, European Cup and the Premier League, and indeed to anyone watching them over that season, destiny will be the among the first words used to describe that season. And something of the best types of that has been the match contrary to the Gunners.
Utd took the lead by way of a wonderful 25-yard curling shot from David Beckham which nestled into the underneath left hand corner of David Seamen’s net. The dream start had come for Utd. David Beckham, whatever else he may be, is gifted I feel with a significant right foot, and he’s got the ability to generate enormous amounts of spin.
It stayed 1-0 until mid-way through the second half when Denis Bergkamp, Arsenal’s Dutch forward, cut inside from the left wing and struck a go. It was a weak effort, but gaining a deflection from Utd defender Jaap Stam it hit the trunk of the net, leaving the goal-keeper Peter Schmeichel stranded. The momentum had shifted. It is important to remember that in football matches, that momentum can over-ride skill and ability.
And 슈어맨 shifted even more when Roy Keane, the tenacious captain of Utd, was sent off for a miss-timed challenge on winger Marc Overmars. It seemed a matter of time before Utd would capitulate. Still they held out. Normally, this is done because of solid defensive showing where organisation and teamwork are paramount
But lo and behold, in the 90th minute, with the game heading towards extra-time, Arsenal won a penalty as Phil Neville felled Ray Parlour in the box. Up stepped Bergkamp, and this time Schmeichel, The Great Dane, was victorious, guessing correctly that the ball would head to his right. Utd had got to extra time. This is no mean feat, saving a penalty is among the hardest what to achieve in football. It requires guesswork ,reading the opponent’s intentions and committing 100% to a certain position of the goal milli-seconds before the shot is taken.
Arsenal, though were not disheartened, and continued to assault the Utd defense, with Bergkamp going again close on several occasions. Then in the second period, came the defining moment.
Ryan Giggs, the Welsh Wizard, found a loose ball by Patrick Vieira inside their own half. He thus began on a meandering, jaw dropping solo run, that saw him bob and weave through the whole Arsenal defense, before unleashing a thunderbolt in to the roof of the web from 6 yards out. Only Maradona and Lionel Messi could claim I think after that passing of play to possess scored with a far more impressive dribble.