This week’s Crucial Goal comes from Teddy Sheringham, then of Manchester United. It came in the 91st minute of the 1999 Champions League Final against Bayern Munich.
Everyone knows that United won the Treble that year. It was an historic achievement as it had never been done before. With the league and FA Cup already sewn up, United flew over to Barcelona for the Champions League Final.
Mario Basler scored a free-kick to give Bayern the lead after just six minutes. From then on, the German side looked odds on to lift the famous trophy for the fourth time. But it wasn’t to be their day as United came back with two goals in injury time.
The winning goal came from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and this goal is the one that most fans remember. The equaliser from Teddy Sheringham is often overlooked, but was more crucial than the Norwegian’s winner. It gave United that extra determination and desire to go on and force the winner, as well as completely deflate the Bayern player’s confidence. They were so sure that they had won the trophy.
Another person in the stadium that was so sure Bayern had won was UEFA President Lennart Johansson. With the score at 1-0 , the Swede got up from his seat high in the stands at the Nou Camp and made his way through the concourses of the stadium to get pitch side, ready for the trophy presentation.
Johansson later said he had got down to his pitch side spot and was confused. The losers were celebrating and the winners were upset. He hadn’t heard the celebrations of the two United goals and still thought Bayern were about to win!
As the clock ticked over into the first minute of stoppage time, United won a corner. United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel went up to cause an extra nuisance for the Bayern defence. When David Beckham sent the ball in, Schmeichel got nearest but it flicked off a Bayern defender who had jumped with the Danish goalkeeper and towards the far post.
Dwight Yorke was stood at the far post and tried to nod the ball back in but another Bayern defender sliced the ball out to the edge of the penalty area. Ryan Giggs got on the end of the clearance and volleyed it towards goal, desperately trying to get it goal bound.
Teddy Sheringham had his back to goal and faced Giggs. He swivelled round and struck the ball with force and found the bottom corner of the net. The United players celebrated and their substitutes ran down the touchline to join them. Bayern’s goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and several defenders called for offside but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
We all know what happened next with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s winning a couple of minutes later, so I won’t go into that. One thing is for certain though, Teddy Sheringham’s goal was crucial and without it there would have been no Treble.