On This Day: Manchester United somehow steal the Super Cup from Crvena Zvezda, 1991
Redondo, Ronaldo and…er…Dennis Bailey are names that spring to many minds when considering brilliant individual performances by visiting players during the Fergie era. But a large chunk of matchgoing United fans brook no argument when telling you that the finest, and by some margin, was that of Dejan Savicevic in the 1991 Super Cup.
United had qualified for the game by virtue of winning the Cup Winners’ Cup, while Red Star had beaten Marseille in a shoot-out to win the European Cup – a game that rivalled the 1986 Steaua-Barcelona final as one of the worst games of anything ever endured. In the aftermath, Red Star’s manager Ljupko Petrovic admitted that he’d lost his nerve, worried about how his young players would cope against the experienced French side, though it’s also worth noting that in the Yugoslavian league that season, drawn games were settled by penalty kicks.
In those days, the Super Cup was usually played over two legs, but due to growing political unrest in Belgrade, UEFA ruled that a single game in Manchester would suffice. For those unable to attend – and there were many – it was covered on some peculiar channel or other with two peculiar men or other doing the commentary, neither of whom has ever been heard from since.
Though Prosinecki had left for Madrid in the summer, Red Star still had players of the calibre of Belodedici, Mihajlovic and Pancev. Belodedici actually gave away a first half penalty – Milojevic saving Bruce’s effort – but this game was all about Savicevic. He absolutely dominated from beginning to end, his touch, movement, pace and awareness way too much for United, and in particular for that Shelley Webb’s fat ex-husband. And though it was that Shelley Webb’s fat ex-husband’s shot that came back off the post for McClair to nab the winner with a characteristic scuff, it was a victory so hollow that United’s players looked a trifle embarrassed come celebration time. Imagine that now.
Here are Savicevic’s highlights:
Short Granada match highlights:
Longer match highlights: