IT was Sir Bobby Charlton himself who famously called this famous ground the “Theatre of Dreams”.
But nobody could have dreamed this one up.
Not Harry Maguire, not Andre Onana.
The outpouring of emotion on the pitch and in the stands showed what it all meant.
Maguire the goalscorer in the 72nd minute.
Then in the seventh minute of injury time and with the last kick of the game substitute Jordan Larsson – son of ex-United striker Henrik – had a penalty saved by the much-criticised United No1.
Incredible, just incredible.
What of Maguire.
Dumped out the team last season and then humiliated when the captain’s armband was taken off him.
He was up for sale if there were any takers. Maguire was not going quietly.
He wanted a proper pay off to go and Manchester United could not reach an agreement.
So he was staying and that inner determination that got him to Old Trafford in the first place has shone through since.
What an example to sulking stars…
When half-time substitute Christian Eriksen delivered the perfect ball from deep on the right flank Maguire simply wanted it more than Rasmus Falk.
He won it and powered a downward header past the goalkeeper and in.
He was ecstatic and so were his teammates.
After emerging from the celebratory huddle he turned to The Stretford End made a heart shape with his hands and smacked the badge on his shirt. The fans loved it.
Everyone who loves sport loves a story of redemption.
Maguire was man of the match at Sheffield United last weekend now this.
Goodness me the Red Devils needed it as well to revive their fortunes in the Champions League after two opening defeats.
But then drama in the final seconds.
Scott McTominay was adjudged to have fouled Mohamed Elyounoussi and a penalty was awarded.
What a fine save it was from Onana too as he guessed right.
The referees whistle went, Onana was engulfed and the whole bench raced onto the field in celebration.
Moments at odds with what had gone on in a first half that was so boring that even the referee blew up before the 45 minutes were up.
This team can have a wonderful knack of allowing you to drift off into a world of your own sometimes.
The opening few minutes did offer some hope at least for the visitors.
Elias Achouri had a long range shot that was going wide but Andre Onana made sure and got a hand to it, which makes a nice change.
The alarm bells were ringing when a slick break then ended with Diogo Goncalves hitting the post.
United were once again trying to utilise Scott McTominay’s striking abilities first properly realised in a Scotland jersey. Playing in a 4-1-4-1 formation McTominay was able to break forward in a bid to add to that double against Brentford and one last weekend at Bramall Lane.
When Marcus Rashford found him, however, he fired over as he did when a clever backheel by Rasmus Hojlund afforded an opportunity.
The start of the second-half did at least wake us from our slumber.
Lukas Lerager’s shot from the edge of the area brought a save out of Onana. For the second home game running Erik ten Hag had replaced his defensive midfielder for Eriksen to provide more creation.
The Dane was immediately into the action with a low drive from the edge of the area turned behind by Kamil Grabara. There were cries for a penalty when Rashford broke through and went down on the edge of the area as Grabara slid on him. It was tight.
But the linesman’s flag went up for Rashford being offside even though replays suggest it wasn’t but VAR could not be referred to because a penalty had not been awarded by the referee.
Ok with that?
Rashford got through again and this time was onside but a heavy first touch lost him his opportunity.
He remains on one goal this season.
It was catching as Alejandro Garnacho was put away by Bruno Fernandes. Good first touch, awful second and the goalkeeper collected.
You could sense that goal was going to come though and it did.
It had too.
Sir Bobby was always there for the highs, but always supportive when the club was struggling too.
It’s struggling again now but this team has spirit.
A spirit first infused into the fabric of United by the likes of Sir Bobby himself.
He was remembered on this night following his passing last week.
The man himself would have pointed at the perilous state of Group A and told the team to change that.
It was always about United on the pitch. That was always what mattered.
His support came Tuesday night in the inspirational history of the man. − The Sun.