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April 1999

With Manchester United into the semi finals of both the Champions League and the FA Cup, as well as with a grip on the summit of the Premier League, everyone associated with the club believed that an unprecedented treble was well within the realms of possibility.


However, everyone knew that it would be very difficult for United to maintain their onslaught on all three fronts as injuries and suspensions began to take its toll.


Despite the difficulties though, United shouldered on grabbed two magnificent victories over Juventus and Arsenal to progress to the finals of the Champions League as well as the FA Cup and while they did drop couple of vital points in the Premier League, the month April would be fondly remembered as one of the greatest in the club’s illustrious history.


3/4/1999
Wimbledon 1 – 1 Manchester United
Venue – Selhurst Park

With Arsenal breathing down their necks in the Premier League, it was of paramount importance for United to grab another win to maintain their lead at the top of the table. However, United were brought back down to earth by a tough Wimbledon side as the minnows put in a resilient display to hold the Red Devils to a 1-1 draw.


Jason Euell handed Wimbledon the lead early on after capitalizing on a horrible error by Gary Neville and while United did equalize through David Beckham just before half-time, they were unable to grab a winner and dropped two crucial points in the title race.


7/4/1999
Manchester United 1 – 1 Juventus
Venue – Old Trafford

Manchester United were pitted against another Italian opponent in the Champions League in the form of Juventus.


While Juventus were enduring a difficult campaign domestically, the Old Lady’s pedigree in the Champions League was undoubted as they had reached the final of the competition in each of the last three editions.


It certainly looked like Juventus were on course of their fourth final in four years after Antonio Conte handed his side a vital away goal in the first half. After conceding, United created a host of opportunities throughout the game but were simply unable to score.


Just when it looked like United were about be inflicted with a cruel defeat though, Ryan Giggs popped up with a vital equalizer with virtually the final kick of the game to give his side hope heading into the second leg.


11/4/1999
Arsenal 0 – 0 Manchester United
Venue – Villa Park

After a punishing clash in the Champions League against Juventus, Manchester United headed to Villa Park to face holders Arsenal in the FA Cup semi finals.


More than a spectacle, the match was a tactical battle where both teams did not take too many risks, perhaps with the fear of losing in such an important clash.


However, it looked like Roy Keane had sealed United’s passage into the final of the FA Cup after scoring through a wonderful half-volley, only for the goal to be ruled out by the referee’s assistant for no apparent reason.


The two teams were then unable to find the net despite playing the full 120 minutes meaning that a replay would be played in a few days’ time.


14/3/1999
Arsenal 1 – 2 Manchester United
Venue – Villa Park

While the previous FA Cup clash between the two teams was far from a spectacle, the same cannot be said about the replay three days later.


In arguably the match of the season for Manchester United, the Red Devils sealed their passage into the final of the FA Cup by grabbing the most dramatic of victories over Arsenal.


David Beckham handed United the lead with a fantastic curler from about 30 yards out, early on in the first half but Arsenal leveled things up in the second half after Denis Bergkamp’s vicious strike found its way into the United net.


United then found themselves on the back foot after conceding and were soon a man down as well, with Roy Keane sent off for picking up his second yellow card for a foul on Marc Overmars.


Following the dismissal of Keane, United looked set to get knocked out of the competition after a lazy tackle by Phil Neville on Ray Parlour handed Arsenal a penalty in the last minute of the game. Denis Bergkamp stepped up, but was sensationally thwarted by Peter Schmeichel to send the game into extra time.


Despite the match going into extra time there was a feeling that Arsenal would still go on to win due to their man advantage. However, up stepped Ryan Giggs to score arguably one of the best goals ever seen in the FA Cup and send United into the final under the most dramatic of circumstances.


Picking up on a slack pass by Patrick Vieira on the edge of his own half, the fleet footed winger embarked on a brilliant run going past three Arsenal defenders and producing a finish of the highest order to spark wild scenes of celebrations among the fans as well as the players.

















17/4/1999
Manchester United 3 – 0 Sheffield Wednesday
Venue – Old Trafford

After such a dramatic win over Arsenal in the FA Cup, Manchester United registered a more routine 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the Premier League.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed United the lead in the 35th minute before Teddy Sheringham doubled the advantage through a fine header just ahead of the break. Paul Scholes then sealed matters by scoring a third in the second half and send United into the all important clash against Juventus in good shape.


21/4/1999
Juventus 2 – 3 Manchester United
Venue – Stadio Delle Alpi

In another pulsating encounter, Manchester United grabbed a tremendous 3-2 victory over Juventus to seal their place in the Final of the Champions League. Heading into the game Juventus had the advantage as they earned a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford and were expected to finish off the job at home.


The hosts certainly started off better as Filippo Inzaghi grabbed two goals inside the first ten minutes to leave United stunned at what just happened.


However, United were not going to lie down and accept defeat as Roy Keane gave the Red Devils hope by scoring with a fine header in the 24th minute before, Dwight Yorke level things up ten minutes later to hand his side the advantage.


With things level at 2-2, it was anybody’s game and both teams came very close on a couple of occasions. At the end though, it was United who found the net once more as Andy Cole tapped home from close range to dump Juventus out and seal Sir Alex’s side place in the final of the competition against Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp.


25/4/1999

Leeds United 1 – 1 Manchester United

Venue – Elland Road

While Manchester United made rapid strides forward in the Champions League as well as the FA Cup, they lost their grip at the top of the Premier League table after managing only a point against Leeds United.


United went behind in the first half after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was allowed to score from a tight angle and while the Red Devils did manage to find the equalizer through Andy Cole, the draw meant that they lost two valuable points in the title race.


Star Performer of the Month:
Ryan Giggs

Although Ryan Giggs had endured bit of a stop start season due to injury problems, the Welsh wizard really came to the fore in the month of April and scored two valuable goals in helping United seal their place in the finals of the FA Cup as well as the Champions League.


First was his final minute strike in the 1-1 home draw against Juventus in the Champions League and his beauty against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi finals was another goal which was probably the most iconic moment of the Red Devils’ fantastic campaign.




League Table

Pos

Team

Pld

Pts

GD

1st

Arsenal

34

69

+39

2nd

Manchester United

33

68

+40

3rd

Chelsea

34

65

+23

4th

Leeds United

34

60

+24

Results - April 1999

Date

Comp

Opp

Venue

Score

3rd

Premier
League

Wimbledon

A

1-1

7th

Champions
League

Juventus

H

1-1

11th

FA Cup

Arsenal

N

0-0

14th

FA Cup

Arsenal

N

2-1

17th

Premier
League

Sheffield
Weds

H

3-0

21st

Champions
League

Juventus

A

3-2

25th

Premier
League

Leeds
United

A

1-1