Champions League Manchester United
When thinking of the European Cup now the Champions League Manchester United is a name that will always be synonymous, both as three-time winners and current holders but also for the Munich Air Disaster of 1958 which wiped out a generation of it‘s brightest stars. Watching live champions league football will have an additional edge when the Red Devils are involved and you can do this via live streams right here on Live Sports Network. Through our dedicated member’s area, you can access live Manchester United Champions League games, both at Old Trafford and away joining over 50,000 members already using our service.
Red Devils In Europe
Matt Busby’s reign began back in 1945 and his insistence not only on signing his own players - at that time considered the prerogative of the club’s directors - but also developing a youth system ultimately produced the golden generation that came to be known as the Busby babes. It included such names as Roger Byrne, Dennis Viollet, Bill Foulkes and of course the legendary Duncan Edwards.
The first English team to compete in the European Cup, they reached the semi-finals in their first attempt finally falling to Real Madrid. The following season, they could have gone all the way but tragedy struck to rob United of 8 players and a host of officials, and England and the world of possibly the greatest player ever to have played the game.
Following a successful trip to Belgrade, the United plane stopped at a snow-covered Munich Airport to refuel. After two failed attempts to take-off a third attempt went fatally wrong. The plane crashed and of the 22 fatalities on site 7 were United players. Amongst the crash survivors were Busby and Edwards but whereas Busby eventually made a recovery, Edwards succumbed to his injuries and died in hospital a fortnight later.
The next decade was very much a rebuilding process but Busby set about it with vigour bringing in such legendary names as Denis Law and Pat Crerand and bringing on the likes of Bobby Charlton. During that period, he also signed another name linked to that title ‘greatest ever player’ - George Best.
Ten years after Munich, a Best-inspired United became the first English club to lift the European Cup by beating Benfica 4-1 at Wembley stadium after extra time. Goals from best and birthday boy Brian Kidd separated a brace from Charlton. It was Busby’s finest hour and perhaps was partial closure on what had been a torrid time for the club.
Given the history and stature of the club on a worldwide stage it was a long wait for the fans until they would next see the ultimate European club trophy held aloft by a United captain. The 1998/9 season saw them secure the domestic league and FA Cup double and United travelled to Spain to face German giants Bayern Munich in the Camp Nou on a balmy night in May. Mario Basler gave Bayern an early lead and with time running out manager Alex Ferguson brought on two substitutes in the forms of Ole Gunner Solksjaer and Teddy Sheringham who had enjoyed a relatively illustrious career prior to his signing for United without ever having claimed a winners medal. In a script even Hollywood wouldn’t accept, 3 injury time minutes saw first Sheringham and then Solskjaer find the back of the German net to send United to the promised land and the Germans into a state of disbelief. Following that night, it was possibly to no-one’s surprise that Alex Ferguson became Sir Alex Ferguson not too soon afterwards.
The phrase ‘name on the trophy’ has been used a few times but never was this more so than the 2007/8 season. With the 40th anniversary of the Munich disaster came expectations of a third European title and United somehow managed to come through to the final against what seemed surmounting odds. They flew to Moscow to face their fiercest domestic rivals Chelsea in an all-English final. They shared the goals in normal and extra time, with Chelsea’s Frank Lampard equalising after a Cristiano Ronaldo opener. United eventually triumphed in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
As reigning champions, their start to the 2008/9 campaign did not start auspiciously with a goalless draw at Old Trafford against Spanish side Villarreal. They improved on their next outing travelling to beating Danish side AaB 3-0 thanks to Wayne Rooney and a Dimitar Berbatov double. Celtic provided the next opposition but fell to the same score line at Old Trafford with the same goal scoring combination. The return match in Scotland did not go to the same plan and it took a late Ryan Giggs equaliser to salvage a point although Berbatov should have won the match with the last kick but somehow managed to shoot wide from inside 10 yards.
Despite what was a comparatively poor record of four draws and only two wins, United still won the group. The round of 32 brought Sir Alex Ferguson face to face with his old Premier League adversary, Jose Mourinho, and his Inter side. Once again, Sir Alex triumphed and led his side into the last 16 where they faced one of Mourinho’s former teams, Porto. A 3-2 win later over two legs took Manchester United through to yet another Champions League semi-final, this time against Arsenal. United made the game look like a pre-season friendly and ran out comfortable 4-1 aggregate winners, ensuring a date in Rome against Barcelona in the final that UEFA would have wanted to see. Unfortunately, Darren Fletcher was harshly red-carded and, despite a protest, the dismissal stood and a crucial member of their midfield would be absent in Italy. Whether or not Fletcher would have made a difference is history. Barcelona were by far the better side and ran out worthy 2-0 winners.
Nevertheless, another Premier League crown secured another shot at the title already won twice by Sir Alex and they will start in the group stage during 2009/10 with ambitions of reaching the final yet again in a competition now often dominated by Premiership sides.
In the Champions League Manchester United will always provide entertainment. You can watch Manchester United online through live champions league football streaming right here at Live Sport Network. Our dedicated members area can provide you with the opportunity to watch live Champions League football. As not everyone is lucky enough to watch Manchester United live in Europe, why not do so from the comfort of your own pc via Free-Football.tv.
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