Rotterdam 1991: Manchester United 2-1 Barcelona

Rotterdam 1991

By Andrew Hyslop

  • Manchester United lifted the European Cup Winners Cup on May 15 1991
  • They defeated Barcelona at the Feijenoord Stadion, Rotterdam.

May 15 1991 saw Manchester United upset the odds to defeat Barcelona in the final of the European Cup Winners Cup, with ex-Barcelona man Mark Hughes grabbing a double

As Manchester United and their fans prepare for the Europa League Final against Ajax we look back at a night when United won their second European trophy.

If They can defeat Ajax in the final on May 24 they will complete the set of European trophies.

The final against Barcelona was the clubs first European final since they defeated Benfica at Wembley Stadium in 1968 to lift the European Cup.

After breaking his Manchester United trophy duck with success in the FA Cup at the end of 1989/90. Alex Ferguson guided his team to final in Rotterdam with victories over Pecsi MNF, Wrexham, Montpellier and Legia Warsaw.

Barcelona Favourites For The Final

Barcelona managed by Johan Cruyff were expected to take the trophy back to the Nou Camp but Ferguson and his team had other ideas.

Cruyff named a side including now Everton manager Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup and Carles Busquets, father of current Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets.

Hughes At The Double

Former Barcelona striker Mark Hughes was the hero for Ferguson’s side as he grabbed a double. Hughes came through the youth ranks at Old Trafford before moving to Barcelona in the summer of 1986.

Hughes was signed by Terry Venables as the Englishman looked to pair Hughes with Gary Lineker in the Barcelona attack.

Hughes struggled in his only season with the club before returning to Old Trafford in the summer of 1988 after a year on loan with Bayern Munich.

After a goalless first-half, United took the lead on 67 minutes following a free-kick taken by captain Bryan Robson. Robson played the ball into box where Steve Bruce headed the ball goalwards and Hughes tapped the ball over the line.

Despite Hughes touching ball there was some debate as to whether the ball had already crossed the line with both players claiming the goal.

Hughes later credited Bruce with the goal through the official records credited Hughes as the goalscorer.

There was no debate as to who scored United’s second as they went two nil up on 74 minutes. This one definitely belonged to Hughes.

Hughes drilled the ball into bottom corner of the Barcelona from an acute angle after it initial looked by Busquets in the Barcelona goal had forced him wide enough to stop the Welshman scoring.

Koeman pulled one back for Barcelona on 79 minutes and the Spanish side had an equaliser ruled out for offside and had an effort cleared off the line.

Manchester United held on for the win and Bryan Robson lifted the Cup Winners Cup and United players and fans partied long into the night.

Second Success For Ferguson

The European Cup Winners Cup success for Manchester United was a second trophy for Ferguson as the United manager and was also his second success in the competition.

Ferguson guided Aberdeen to success in the competition in the 1982/83 season. In that final Aberdeen were also the underdogs as they came up against Real Madrid.

Like United’s win over Barcelona, Aberdeen won that final 2-1.hen

About Andrew Hyslop 398 Articles

Creator of Sir Alex Ferguson Way and writer of football books

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