Steve Bartram: My Favourite Goal
Simple, efficient, pivotal. Of all the 51 goals which punctuated his thrilling 11-and-a-half year Manchester United career, none summed up the utilitarian genius of Roy Keane better than his priceless header against Juventus.
For all the spadework shared by a stellar cast during United’s epic 1998/99 Treble campaign, for all the quirks of fortune and fate that went the Reds’ way, the unprecedented achievement hinged on a handful of iconic moments. In Turin, trailing 3-1 on aggregate in a Champions League semi-final decider against Juventus – bidding to reach a fourth straight final – Keane provided one of them.
Despite their free-flowing brilliance, United’s attacking excellence under Sir Alex Ferguson rarely leaned on corner kicks, despite deliveries invariably supplied by David Beckham and Ryan Giggs. On this occasion, however, Beckham peered into a packed penalty area and, amid the likes of Zidane, Davids, Conte and Deschamps, he picked out the rampaging run of Keane, who reached the ball ahead of everyone else and glanced his header into the far corner. Game on.
Within long, game over as Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole completed the turnaround to reach the final. Though suspension cruelly deprived Keane of the chance to face Bayern Munich in Barcelona, his work had been done.
Steve is the features Editor for @ManUtd. Follow his thoughts on Twitter here: @stevebartram1