Macheda's Dramatic Winner For Manchester United Was 10 Years Ago
Federico Macheda’s famous winner for Manchester United, against Aston Villa, at the age of 17, was 10 years ago on April 5th 2009.
‘Federico Macheda, I haven’t heard that name in years,’ you can imagine a shady character saying as he draws another drag from his cigarette, the young Italian made himself famous for a moment in Premier League history that may never be forgotten.
It’s fair to say that when dawn broke on Sunday April 5th 2009 there wasn’t many people who had the foggiest idea who Federico Macheda was. When Manchester United‘s team sheet came out that afternoon ahead of their game against Aston Villa there would have been many scratched heads.
United were gunning for the title but had lost back-to-back games against Liverpool, a 4-1 loss to their rivals at Old Trafford, and against Fulham. Liverpool‘s win over Fulham on the Saturday had taken Rafa Benitez’s side top of the table.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side took the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo after just 14 minutes but, with Gary Neville and John O’Shea an unfamiliar centre back pairing, John Carew headed home on the half hour mark to make it 1-1.
Worse was to come as Gabby Agbonlahor made it 2-1 with another headed goal, after Ronaldo had been dispossessed, around the hour mark.
In typical fashion it was Ronaldo who made things level again with 10 minutes to go. The Red Devils were banging on the door and needed a winner, that’s when Macheda had his moment of brilliance:
It was an incredible introduction to Premier League football for the teenager and the goal swung momentum in the title race back in United’s favour.
He would get a flukier winner a week later as Ferguson’s team beat Sunderland 2-1 and they would go the rest of the season unbeaten, winning eight and drawing one, and once again winning the title.
Unfortunately for the Italian his career at Old Trafford would never really take off like it looked like it might when he first hit the scene.
He played 35 games in all competitions over six years with the club, scoring just five goals, and coming nowhere near the importance of his first goal.
Over the next nine years he’d have loan spells at Sampdoria, QPR, Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City before signing for Cardiff City, going on loan to Nottingham Forest, and signing for Novara.
One season at Birmingham saw him score 10 goals in 18 Championship appearances but the rest of his seasons were underwhelming.
This season Macheda, now 27 and making me feel like time has flown by in the past decade, signed for Greek side Panathinaikos.
He has seven goals in 22 games with the club sitting back in sixth but he could beat his personal tally for most goals in a season.
Before 5.30 on Sunday evening April 5th 2009 we didn’t know who Federico Macheda was, now we’re unlikely to ever forget him for his one brief moment of brilliance.