Supporting Manchester United in 2013/14 has come down to looking back at seconds of the season to find things we can hold on to.
As soon as United drew Bayern Munich in the European Cup quarterfinal, it was always going to be the full stop of their European campaign. The first leg in England though did give us cause to dream and the travelling support to Germany this week had something to cling on going into the second leg.
At halftime at the Alianz Arena, United had gone through 75% of the tie still in the tie, yet to mathematically fall behind in the tie. All we had to do in the final 45 of the tie was to get that away goal and keep doing what we had done well for 3/4 of the tie. Easier said than done though, but we actually did accomplish one half of the mission soon after the break.
Patrice Evra took giant strides towards a seemingly loose ball and let fly towards goal. Most of us did not actually see the ball hitting the back of the net. What made us leap out of our seats was the ball striking the inside of Manuel Neur's goal and staying within the general area of beyond the goal line. It was not so much about the meaning of the goal as it was about the quality of the strike. Suddenly we were on course to accomplish the unthinkable. Suddenly we were in dreamland. The celebrations on the pitch matched the delirium in the stands and in pubs across the planet. Sensational, but only for just 23 seconds
Bayern Munich equalised soon after and from that point you got the feeling that that was that. The quality of the champions shone through in the end and the wind was taken out of our sails. It was a brave and determined effort that United put up overall in the tie; if only the players had started the season with similar effort in the league.
For all his faults this season, David Moyes has at least shown that he can cope with the demands of European football over a season. It's up too him to win himself an opportunity to have another crack in this competition. United now have to get back to the bread and butter. The league title is priority next season and without the demands of the Champions League, you expect that the pressure will be on the manager to produce the kind of thrilling league season that Liverpool have enjoyed this term with no European distractions.
Ultimately, those 23 seconds in Munich might yet prove to be the best 23 seconds of the season!
Labels: UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE