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Wenger: “Giggs’ goal won United the Treble”

Manchester-United-2-1-Arsenal-FA-Cup-Semi-Final-replay-April-14-1999Arsene Wenger has claimed that Ryan Giggs’ goal in the replay of the 1999 FA Cup still haunts him, adding that the Welshman’s incredible finish effectively put United on course for a historic Treble.

Having gone ahead through a superb David Beckham strike, United were pegged back by a great finish from Dennis Bergkamp and had Roy Keane sent off for a second yellow deep into the second half.

With only minutes remaining, Arsenal looked to have earned themselves a trip to Wembley as Phil Neville brought down Ray Parlour in the penalty box. Peter Schmeichel, however, had other ideas and denied Bergkamp from the penalty spot, setting the stage for Giggs’ wonderful effort in extra time.

“Giggs’s goal was what decided their season,” said Wenger.

“I think that goal won them the Treble because if Bergkamp scores I think the game is over. It was a trauma for us.

“Bergkamp never again wanted to take a penalty and it put them on the road [to the Treble]. I can still hear the shouts of their team having won, they couldn’t believe it because they were down to 10 men.

“And I think that put them on a wave of euphoria and then they won the title – just.”

United went on to clinch an unprecedented Treble but Wenger feels had Arsenal gone on to reach the FA Cup final, his team could have won the Double.

“They played [and drew] at Blackburn and we lost at Leeds in the last minute when Nigel Winterburn was kicked off and [Jimmy Floyd] Hasselbaink scored at the far post and [Kaba] Diawara hit the bar twice,” said Wenger referring to the penultimate game of the 1998-99 Premier League campaign.

“After that they won the Champions League final in the last minutes – it was a miracle year for them.”