WITH one instinctive jab of his right boot, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became an instant Old Trafford legend.
The man whose precision prod made Manchester United European kings, and capped the most astonishing finale in Champions League history.
PA:Press Association1 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits his flick against Bayern in '99 was lucky
One down had turned into a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in three devastating stoppage time minutes.
And a Treble — still the only one of its kind by an English club — was sealed. Even now, 20 years to the day down the line, it brings goosebumps and a grin to everyone of a United hue, be it player, employee or fan.
Mention it to Solskjaer and he transforms from the United manager he is now back to the beaming baby-faced hitman who made his side kings of Europe.
Today he will switch his manager’s coat for a shirt, as Bayern come to Old Trafford for a fund-raising showdown exactly two decades on.
And as he recalled that “and Solskjaer has won it” moment, you sense he is still relieved his flick of the foot ended in the right place.
The Norwegian said: “The goal wasn’t practised or prepared for, it was just instinct from many years as a striker.
“It was about being in the box and knowing how to guide it towards goal. I was lucky to flick it on — and that it went under the crossbar, not over it.”
As so often, Solskjaer had started on the bench and only got his chance in the last ten minutes.
Teddy Sheringham — who bagged the equaliser — had been chucked on 15 minutes earlier as United trailed to Mario Basler’s free-kick for the German giants. Solskjaer added: “When Sir Alex told Teddy he was going on I was a bit disappointed I wasn’t the first substitute, but I was never one to complain and sulk.
“I just made sure I warmed up in front of him to show I was ready.
“Finally, when he called me, I definitely was.
“When I see myself running on, I was springy, my legs were ready.
“I felt energised, I had that little feeling that it was going to be a special night for us and me.
“I was ready for my chance . . . I was always ready.
OLE KING SOL
“That was my game — to be an opportunist. I knew if we needed goals, if we were 1-0 down or whatever, I would get on.
“We’d gone nearly five months without losing any games so I don’t think any of us even considered that we weren’t going to win.
“There was just this unbelievable spirit and belief in the group — we were so confident.”
The dressing room was predictably wild after, with kitman Albert Morgan being thrown into the jacuzzi as the celebrations kicked off.
Yet as much as it remains a golden memory for every one of those 1999 Treble winners, there is still, incredibly, one regret — that they could not manage to repeat their Euro triumph.
Solskjaer admitted: “The next season we won the league by 18 points, but winning the league was normal for us. We demanded that from each other.
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“What we really wanted was to win the Champions League again, that was our main focus, to do it again.
“Anyone can win a competition once, but unfortunately we never managed it again with that bunch of players — although we did win the league three times on the bounce.”
Man Utd Legends v Bayern Munich Legends, Old Trafford, 3pm today. All proceeds to Manchester United Foundation. To find out more, go to mufoundation.org