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5 classic Manchester United v Barcelona encounters

The teams meet tonight in California at 9pm Irish time.

WITH MANCHESTER UNITED and Barcelona doing battle in a tasty friendly later this evening, why not take a troll down memory lane?

Manchester United 3-0 Barcelona, 1984 Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup

Under Ron Atkinson, United played some great football and really should’ve won the First Division title during his spell as manager.

But along with the flair, leather jackets and FA Cup triumphs, he also brought the big European nights back to Old Trafford they couldn’t come much bigger than this one.

Source: Molfish/YouTube

Having won the FA Cup the year previous, United made it to the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1984 and were drawn to face Diego Maradona’s Barcelona. The first leg at the Camp Nou saw United lose 2-0, with Juan Carlos Rojo conjuring an absolute thunderbolt of a second goal.

But with an intense crowd backing them for the second leg in Manchester, Bryan Robson scored twice before Frank Stapleton added a third. And United had conjured their greatest European performance since the late-1960s.

Man United XI: Bailey, Duxbury, Albiston, Wilkins, Moran, Hogg, Robson, Muhren, Stapleton, Whiteside, Moses

Barcelona XI: Urruticoechea, Gerardo, Moratalla, Julio Alberto, Munoz, Alexanco, Pichi Alonso, Schuster, Rojo, Maradona, Marcos Alonso

Manchester United 2-1 Barcelona, 1991 Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup

Sir Alex Ferguson’s head was on the chopping block the year before but after four years in the job, his side finally won a trophy – the FA Cup. And that meant a return to Europe and after a relatively straight-forward route to the final, they faced the imposing threat of the Catalans, coached by Johan Cruyff, who would be crowned European Cup winners in 1992.

It was United’s first European final since 1968 and a double from Mark Hughes was enough for them to rack up a welcome piece of silverware.

Source: Keep The Red Flag Flying High/YouTube

Man United XI: Sealey, Irwin, Bruce, Pallister, Blackmore, Phelan, Ince, Robson, Sharpe, McClair, Hughes

Barcelona XI: Busquets, Nando, Alexanko, Ferrer, Koeman, Goikoetxea, Eusebio, Bakero, Begiristain, Salinas, Laudrup

Manchester United 2-2 Barcelona, 1994 Uefa Champions League

Everyone remembers the way in which a Romario-inspired Barcelona tore United to ribbons in the Camp Nou in the group-stage of the 1994/95 Champions League.

Poor Gary Pallister is still having nightmares.

But the first time they clashed, at Old Trafford the previous month, was a much tighter affair.

Source: sp1873/YouTube

United had started their campaign brightly, beating Goteborg and drawing in the heated atmosphere of Istanbul against Galatasaray. And they started well against Barca with Mark Hughes scoring after 19 minutes.

But the Spaniards responded with Romario netting the equaliser while Bakero popped up to give them the lead shortly after the break.

But the impressive Lee Sharpe popped up with a moment of magic, back-heeling a late leveler after a low cross from Roy Keane.

Man United XI: Schmeichel, Parker, Irwin, May, Pallister, Butt, Kanchelskis, Ince, Keane, Hughes, Sharpe

Barcelona XI: Busquets, Abelardo, Guardiola, Koeman, Barjuan, Bakero, Martinez, Stoichkov, Nadal, Romario, Begiristain

Barcelona 3-3 Manchester United, 1999 Uefa Champions League

There had already been a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford earlier in the group stage but it left everyone wanting more.

So, both sides were more than happy to step up to the plate and deliver a thrilling sequel.

Barca, then coached by a certain Louis van Gaal, were in front inside the opening minute through Sonny Anderson but Dwight Yorke responded later in the half to leave it 1-1 at the break.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xxptjx_1998-november-25-barcelona-spain-3-manchester-united-england-3-champions-league_travel

(If you can’t watch the above video, just click here.) 

Then, all bets were off.

Yorke and Andy Cole combined magnificently for the latter to give United the lead before Rivaldo out-foxed Peter Schmeichel with a curling free-kick to make it 2-2. Yorke stooped to head David Beckham’s cross to the net with just over twenty minutes left but the final word was left to Barca’s mercurial Brazilian.

He brilliantly controlled Sergei’s left-wing cross before throwing himself in the air and sending a perfect bicycle kick to the bottom corner.

3-3. Incredible.

Barcelona XI: Hesp, Reiziger, Figo, Celades, Anderson, Giovanni, Rivaldo, Sergi Barjuan, Okunowo, Zenden, Xavi

Man United XI: Schmeichel, Neville, Irwin, Stam, Brown, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Blomqvist, Cole, Yorke.

Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United, 2011 Uefa Champions League

Two years previously, United were beaten by Barca in the decider. With this game in London, it was seen as the perfect chance for revenge.

But there was a slight problem.

Pep Guardiola’s side were at the top of their game and the pressing style, coupled with the tiki-taka possession game suffocated every team they faced. And this clash was more of the same.

Source: FC Barcelona/YouTube

United knew what to expect but could do little to fend off what was a master-class from the Catalans. How United remained in the game until the 54th-minute is baffling though Wayne Rooney’s strike is a very under-rated European final goal.

So many gems in this, particularly the pass from Xavi to set up Pedro for the game’s opener.

Barcelona XI: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Abidal, Busquets, Xavi, Villa, Iniesta, Messi, Pedro

Man United XI: Van der Sar, Fabio, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Park, Giggs, Rooney, Hernandez

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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