Back in March, Manchester United's dream of securing another treble was alive and kicking.
The Red Devils were all set to take on Real Madrid in what would prove to be a significant match in their campaign. Comfortable at both home and away, few would have predicted the fate United brought upon themselves.
But, knocked out of the Champions League - thanks largely to the Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir - United went on to lose the FA Cup advantage to the rivals Chelsea.
The overall performance of the team has been certainly commendable if not mind-blowing. The record 13th Premier League with four games left to play is an indicator of this success. However, United missed on what could have been a memorable season. Complacency is something United fans and players do no entertain. The enthusiasm and performance of the team in the second half of the campaign has been a mere shadow of their first half.
What brought about such an astonishing turnaround? There can be many reasons if we go begin scrutinising, but one reasons stands out amongst all: the red card shown to Nani against Real Madrid.
An hour into the game, 2-1 up on aggregate with an away goal advantage as well, United were playing with confidence and looked set to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s bold move to bench superstar Wayne Rooney was paying off as United effectively choked the Real Madrid midfield. He had finally got the better of his counterpart Jose Mourinho. It felt as if this was going to be a memorable day for the Old Trafford fans. And indeed it was.
No United fan would ever want to relive the disaster brought upon their team by an inexplicably obstinate referee. As if this was not enough, UEFA’s astonishing support to the incompetent referee was like rubbing salt into the wounds.
Though many expected Manchester United to get over the disappointment and take the domestic double in style, it’s easier said than done. The incident not only left United feeling cheated and robbed of a place in quarters, but also jolted the immense confidence and passion they rode upon in the season.
It is pretty clear that the events that transpired that night have not been forgotten at Old Trafford.
It will probably take some more time - and only the success at the highest level again will heal the wounds completely.
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