E.ON Great Saves No.7: Peter Schmeichel
FA Cup semi-final replay, April 14, 1999
Manchester United were chasing an unprecedented treble of FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League while Arsenal themselves had aspirations of a league and cup double. The first semi-final encounter four days earlier had been a tetchy goalless affair but second time round fans were treated to a classic - with Peter Schmeichel cementing his status as an Old Trafford legend…
Dennis Bergkamp (69)
David Beckham (17)
Ryan Giggs (110)
FA Cup semi-final replay,
April 14, 1999
Villa Park, Referee: David Elleray, Att: 30,233
David Beckham opened the scoring for United before the Gunners drew level through Dennis Bergkamp’s deflected effort. Roy Keane was then sent off as Arsenal piled on the pressure, and when Ray Parlour was felled by Phil Neville in the penalty area with seconds left of normal time it seemed as though United’s hopes of an historic treble were about to end. Up stepped Bergkamp with the chance to put Arsenal into the FA Cup final but the Dutchman saw his kick to the right brilliantly thwarted by Peter Schmeichel, taking the tie into extra-time - and keeping the dream of the United treble alive. With Schmeichel continuing to stand firm, Ryan Giggs would go on to complete a remarkable victory for United with one of the greatest goals the old competition has ever seen.
United's chances of winning the treble seemed over when Bergkamp was handed the chance to fire Arsenal into the final in the dying seconds. But the Great Dane proved he was a man for the big occasions by diving to his left to brilliantly keep out the spot-kick and keep United on course to complete an historic treble.
The Dutch forward was one of Arsenal's best performers on the night, dragging his side back into the game with a long-range equaliser after United had taken the lead. But, sadly, his fine performance would be forgotten as he chose placement over power with his 90th minute spot-kick. Schmeichel guessed right and Arsenal agonisingly missed out on a place in the FA Cup final.
The Welsh wing wizard will forever be remembered for his goal that settled this dramatic cup tie. The United substitute intercepted Patrick Vieira's stray pass before embarking on a tremendous run, beating five Arsenal players before smashing the ball past David Seaman.
Did You Know...?
Schmeichel became the first goalkeeper to score a Premier League goal, when he netted for Aston Villa in a 3–2 defeat away to Everton in October 2001.
Since retiring from football in 2003, Schmeichel has carved out a successful new career as a TV host. He has presented the Danish version of game show 1 vs 100 and the European version of Discovery Channel programme Dirty Jobs.
Villa Park is the most used stadium in FA Cup semi–final history, having hosted 55 so far.
What Happened Next
United ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Newcastle United in the final at Wembley. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side also pipped Arsenal to the Premier League title and secured a dramatic victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final to become the first English team ever to win the treble. Schmeichel left United soon after the Champions League triumph - a fitting end to his remarkable Old Trafford career.
This season E.ON is celebrating Great Saves - great energy saves at home and great goalkeeping saves on the pitch. To win an exciting range of football prizes, with everything from signed shirts to a set of four family tickets at the FA Cup final go to eongreatsaves
We want your help to grow the MirrorFootball.co.uk archive! Leave your comments about this piece of football history by clicking on the 'Your Memories' tab above. Tell us who or what you'd like to see covered in the MirrorFootball.co.uk archive by emailing email@example.com