06 April 2009

Kiko Macheda, take a bow

When i sat down to watch the Manchester United game this evening, I knew it was no ordinary game. United have had it tough over the past couple of weeks. Seldom do united lose 2 consecutive games and they had. A third would be unthinkable. But even i could not have imagined as extra-ordinary an evening as it turned out. 

I saw the starting line-up and it was distressing - 6-7 first team players injured or suspended. Rio Ferdinand wouldnt be starting - that was a bit unexpected. With him and Vida both out, things at the back were embarrasingly weak.

I glanced across at the substitutes list and it was worse, not even one established player. I saw several youngsters names there that I knew but saw one I had never heard of - "MacHeda" - thats how it was spelt and so I throught he was probably scottish or Irish.

The game started well with Ronaldo scoring and then it quickly went south for us and we were down 1-2. If ever we needed the famous Manchester United spirit and the noise of the Old Trafford faithful, this was the time.

I have seen United fight hard and long before and never say die, I never get up from watching a United game however bleak the chances of a turnaround because I know and I believe that the Manchester United team never gives up and so I never give up. and this time they did it again.

Love him or Hate him but you can't ignore him. Sir Alex Ferguson, and he did the unthinkable. He threw on Federico Macheda. 17 years old. never played for the United first team before. yes, he had scored a hat-trick for the reserves earlier this week but this is the premiership and we were a goal down.... Sir Alex knows when its time.

Ronaldo was sulky and petulant in parts and was probably responsible for the 2nd we conceded but he stepped and scored with his weaker foot that too.... we were level and from there, only one team wanted to to win. With ten minutes to go, the sense of expectation around Old Trafford was palpable.

With 5 minutes going up as injury time, there was hope.

Three minutes into this, history was made. Macheda was in the box, not just waiting for, but seeking the ball. Pointing to his right, away from the goal - he signalled for a through pass. Ryan Giggs played a perfectly weighted pass.

Then it was all Kiko, with his back to goal, the ball the wrong side of the near post. For those of us who have played the game, in fact any sport, know that often what happens next is not something you plan or think, instinct takes over. Chances are Kiko didn't even think: he just did it. In one fluid motion he teed the ball up with his heel, turned, and put his weight low behind the ball, and curled a shot past the goalkeeper and inside the post. It was utterly sublime.

I could NOT restrain myself and yelled and screamed and ran around the room.... truely unbelievable. Mark of the champions.

United may not go on to win the premiership, only time will tell. No trophy was decided tonight.  
But this isnt about that at all. This is about reaching such highs and peaks. Such joyous occassions are what have made me support Manchester United for 26 years. No club can match it. I am proud to be a Manchester United Fan!

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