March 3, 2007:
“It stayed low, bounces around and into the back of the net by John O’shea, Manchester United, what a massive goal that is. It’s a smashing finish, but United have the points surely. What a massive goal!”
30 seconds earlier…
Manchester United had won a freekick just outside the box. Reina and Carragher were shoring up the defence. Liverpool had dominated the proceedings the entire afternoon. Scholes had been sent off in the 86th minute. Cristiano Ronaldo took the free kick.
And there it was, O’Shea, was running around, celebrating his 91st minute winner against Liverpool at Anfield. Giggs, Ronaldo, Carrick were all chasing the “Ireland’s number 1”. Alex Ferguson, in one of his unique act, was jumping on the touchline, celebrating this goal as 5 year-old kid. It was a massive goal, no doubt about that, completely against the run of play. Liverpool were unfortunate, and United ecstatic, as they looked happy to settle for a point, but O’Shea had snatched a victory for United. O’Shea, the hero of that day.
7 years later…
Liverpool were playing Sunderland at Anfield. The question on everyone’s mind was not how Liverpool will defeat Sunderland, but how many are they going to score? For the first 38 minutes of the game, Sunderland had a very disciplined defence. 5 defenders and 2 defensive midfielders shielded Vito Mannone successfully preventing a presumed Liverpool onslaught. Steven Gerrard made it 1-0 with a perfect freekick after Luis Suarez was fouled by Vergini just outside the box. Daniel Sturridge completed his 20 goal haul in the 48th minute, making it 2-0. The Anfield faithful were expecting the beginning of another goal feast, but Sung-Yong Ki grabbed one back in the 76th minute.
Sunderland won a freekick just outside the right hand side of the box, the exact location Manchester United had won it, 7 years back at Anfield. Adam Johnson measured up the wall. Sunderland had finally begun to believe they can take away a vital point from the title chasers. Among the Sunderland players who had come up for the freekick, was John O’Shea. Johnson delivered the cross. Time had stopped for the Anfield faithful, as they held their breath and watched the ball fly agonisingly past Liverpool’s defenders. Unmarked, O’Shea rose the highest. He connected, the ball flicked off his head and flew across the Liverpool goal, away from Jozy Altidore at the far post. O’Shea had missed a clear header. John O’Shea, had missed it as Anfield heaved a sigh of relief.
Liverpool have won the match against Sunderland, 2 goals to 1, and take another step towards the title.