When Radzinski and Anderlecht stunned Man United

The two clubs meet again in the Europa League

BY Raf Diallo 14:12 Thursday 13 April 2017, 14:12 13 Apr 2017

Anderlecht's Tomasz Radzinski (white shirt) scores the opening goal. Steve Mitchell/EMPICS Sport

The first time the name Tomasz Radzinski popped up on my radar was shortly before he pitched up in the Premier League at David Moyes' Everton in 2001.

The Canadian striker had joined from Belgian record champions Anderlecht at a time when the gap between the elite clubs and teams from mid-tier leagues in Europe was not so sizable.

Indeed, the reason why Radzinski popped into the general football consciousness dates back to what he and Anderlecht did to Manchester United in the 2000-01 Champions League. 

It was the group stage and Alex Ferguson's United were sharing their Autumn adventures in Europe with PSV Eindhoven, Dinamo Kyiv and of course Anderlecht.

There wouldn't be as many worries for an elite club now if they were drawn against those teams in Europe but back then it was a different case as Man United quickly found out.

This was a strong United side playing in their fifth fixture of the group away at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels and it was a strong lineup: Fabien Barthez, Gary Neville, Ronny Johnsen, Mikael Silvestre, Denis Irwin, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole.

And they had thrashed Anderlecht 5-1 at Old Trafford in the opening group match which saw Radzinski subbed off just before the hour.

He barely needed even half that time to show Man United what he was made of in the return game in Brussels.

After 15 minutes of action, the Polish born forward latched on to a long pass from the left back zone, getting behind Man United's defence before firing a shot past World Cup winner Barthez.

Eighteen minutes later and a cross from the right flank was whipped across for Radzinski to turn in to the bottom corner.

United's only response was a Denis Irwin penalty three minutes later as Anderlecht won 2-1.

The result left United third in the group with just one matchday to go, although it worked out for both sides as a 3-2 win for Anderlecht against PSV away from home sent them top of the group, while United's narrow 1-0 win over Dinamo Kyiv saw them scrape home in second.

As Radzinski said recently, "The game against Man United defined my career. For 60 minutes we did play fantastic football and we actually dominated them."

And he added a key outcome as well: "Sir Alex Ferguson actually did say to the coach at Everton [Moyes] that if you're still looking for a striker, you should consider this guy from Anderlecht."

Tonight, United and Anderlecht meet again in the Europa League quarter finals and it's the English side that will be overwhelming favourites to progress further in the competition.

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