Bayern Munich scored a goal in time added on by Ivica Olic to stun Manchester United 2-1 in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday, in a match with shades of their famous clash in 1999.
The game was eagerly anticipated as a re-run of the famous thrilling Champions League final in 1999 when two dramatic goals right at the end took the trophy to Old Trafford in a devastating blow to the Germans.
Bayern were better than us and we can't deny that either. They pressed us really hard and we cracked a bit. The last goal was a terrible one to give away.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson accepted that the better side had prevailed. "We didn't play well and we kept on giving the ball away," said the Scotsman. "Bayern were better than us and we can't deny that either. They pressed us really hard and we cracked a bit. The last goal was a terrible one to give away. However, the game at Old Trafford will be a different one and we will be much better. No doubt about that. We have an away goal and that is an advantage."
United struck right at the beginning of the match, with England striker Wayne Rooney latching on to a deflected free-kick and smashing home a close-range volley for his 34th goal of the season with only 66 seconds played.
But after this disastrous start, the home side began to stroke the ball around with confidence, with French international playmaker Franck Ribery running the show in midfield and Bayern generally dominating possession. Bayern were left to rue a golden opportunity half way through the first period as Olic somehow missed from about a yard out completely unmarked in front of goal.
Rooney missed a gilt-edged chance of his own in front of goal before the end of an open and entertaining first half which produced only one goal, but could have seen a half-dozen as both teams concentrated on attacking football.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson called on his side to step up their effort in the second half but it was the home side who started the brighter with several shots on goal in the first few minutes of the second period. Dutchman Edwin van der Sar was by far the busiest of the two goalkeepers as Bayern pressed hard for an equaliser. However, Rooney continued to terrorise the German defence with his pace as United looked to hit them on the break.
With just over a quarter-hour remaining and the German side still enjoying the lion's share of possession, Bayern coach Louis van Gaal threw on German international striker Mario Gomez in a bid to snatch a late goal. And the ploy worked almost immediately. After a deliberate handball by veteran defender Gary Neville, a long-range free-kick from Ribery deflected off Rooney past a helpless van der Sar to give the Germans something to take back to Old Trafford.
Frantic final minutes
During a frantic last 10 minutes, United defender Nemanja Vidic clattered the bar and Gomez forced van der Sar into a last-ditch save during injury time. But the Dutchman was helpless as Olic weaved his way through the United defence and slotted home in the second minute of injury time. As a further blow to Ferguson and England, Rooney hobbled off the pitch at full time after a clash with Gomez.
The English side came into the clash in stunning form, having won their last seven games, including a 4-0 thumping of Italian giants AC Milan and a satisfying 2-1 defeat of fierce rivals Liverpool at home. Coming in to the quarter-final clash, the Reds were undefeated in their last 17 European encounters, a point made forcefully by coach Sir Alex Ferguson before the game.
In contrast, Bayern's recent form has been poor, with rare back-to-back league defeats knocking them off the top of the Bundesliga. The four-time European champions have also been less than convincing in Europe, needing a hefty dose of luck to squeeze past Italian outfit Fiorentina.