Giggsy's Goal Nearly Starts A Riot in France

Stade+Felix+Bollaert Giggsy's Goal Nearly Starts A Riot in FranceWho would have imagined that the Lille versus Manchester United first leg tie tonight would have been so controversial? To me, it reminded me of the drama of 80s football, and it certainly sets up a remarkable return leg at Old Trafford.

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to see what happened, the action on the pitch is best summed by up the excellent footage from ITV who broadcasted the match in England. During this clip, you also get to see the expert analysis by Robbie Earle and Andy Townsend, two co-commentators we regularly hear on Premiership matches each weekend. Plus you have the post-match interview from Alex Ferguson.

Sharp thinking by Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs was the difference in this match as Giggsy curled in a free kick with his left foot while the Lille goalkeeper and defender were anticipating the whistle would be blown by the referee. Overall it was an excellent display by the ref throughout the game in a hostile environment.

One of the reasons the match reminded me of 80s football (other than the scrappy play on the pitch and the fighting spirit from United) was the crowd trouble in the stands at the Stade Félix Bollaert (pictured above). First there was the inadequate security by the French officials who allegedly allowed United fans with black market tickets into the away end, forcing a crush near the front metal fence which was reminiscent of the beginning of the Hillsborough disaster. See video of what happened here.

Then, after Giggs scored the only goal in the match, the Lille fans became so incensed that they reportedly threw objects on to the pitch.

All in all, it was extraordinary scenes from Lille and there’s no doubt that we’ll be hearing much more on the topic from UEFA.

All eyes are now set on Wednesday fixtures including the appealing Barcelona against Liverpool match, as well as Porto versus Chelsea. And don’t forget about Watford versus Wigan, and Everton against Spurs.

In the meantime, here’s a trailer for the new Champions League video game that’s coming out in March in Europe.

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