Manchester United v Barcelona: Classic Encounters

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Manchester United and Barcelona meet in a prestigious pre-season friendly tonight, with the two clubs going head-to-head in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Whilst the result won’t be at the top of the agenda for either side, it will give managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Tito Vilanova the chance to assess their top players ahead of the 2012/13 seasons in England and Spain.

Both teams are expected to name strong line-ups with the big kick-off now less than a fortnight away, and when the likes of Rooney, Messi, Scholes and Fabregas are on the pitch, nobody will be taking things easy.

Last time the two met in a friendly, the Red Devils ran out 2-1 winners in America. In a competitive match, Barca claimed a 3-1 Champions League victory. And so, in honour of the match, GMF remembers three of the most memorable clashes between the two great teams.

Don’t agree with our choices? Have your say at the bottom of the article…

1. Barcelona 3-3 Manchester United – Champions League Group Stage; 1998/99

When Manchester United travelled to the Nou Camp in November 1998, manager Sir Alex Ferguson couldn’t have imagined that his side were on the way to a famous treble.

Sonny Anderson put the hosts in-front, but the double act of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole put United 2-1 ahead. Rivaldo’s free-kick leveled the scored, before Yorke headed home a David Beckham cross to make it 3-2 to the visitors.

Rivaldo then delivered a stunning overhead kick to make the score 3-3, and hit the bar whilst chasing a winner for the Catalan giants that would have sent them into the knockout stages. The draw sent them out, however, and United went on to beat Bayern Munich in that famous final.

2. Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United – Champions League final; 2010/11

Having lost to Barcelona in the 2008/09 final, revenge was on the agenda for the Red Devils when the two sides met at Wembley two years later.

Pedro opened the scoring for the ‘visitors’, but England striker Wayne Rooney struck back to give United unexpected hope at half-time.

They were second best throughout, however, and goals from Lionel Messi and David Villa secured a 3-1 win for Pep Guardiola’s dominant Spanish side.

3. Manchester United 1-0 Barcelona – Champions League semi-final, second leg; 2007/08

What the game lacked in goals, it made up for in drama as United progressed to a final with Chelsea thanks to Paul Scholes’ long-range effort.

Edwin Van der Sar held firm in the Red Devils goal, preserving a vital clean sheet to make sure United survived. The first leg was drawn 0-0, with Cristiano Ronaldo missing a penalty.

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