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1994/95 IFK Göteborg 3–1 Manchester United FC: Report

"We had qualified as group winners – who would have believed that when the draw was made?" Jesper Blomqvist

1994/95 IFK Göteborg 3–1 Manchester United FC: Report
1994/95 IFK Göteborg 3–1 Manchester United FC: Report ©UEFA.com

Football supporters are not renowned for their powers of prophecy but the IFK Göteborg fans whose banner announced "Giggs is talk, Blomqvist is action" before this fixture would come away with some credit, even if Ryan Giggs did not actually play.

After all a virtuoso performance from Jesper Blomqvist ensured Manchester United FC, who had arrived  with their Group A ambitions hanging by a thread, left the Ullevi with those hopes all but vanquished.

English football's first UEFA Champions League group-stage foray was not meant to end like this. United had begun brightly, beating IFK 4-2 at Old Trafford but stalled, following back-to-back draws and a 4-0 defeat at FC Barcelona. Three weeks later they arrived in Sweden determined to make amends, optimism raised by the return of the talismanic Eric Cantona.

IFK had a lucky charm of their own in left-winger Blomqvist, one of seven members of the side who had helped Sweden finish third at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. In the Gothenburg drizzle he soon made his presence felt, breaking the deadlock on 11 minutes as the hosts demonstrated why they were top of the group – FC Barcelona and Galatasaray AŞ's failure to pick up points here had been no fluke.

With so much at stake United forced their way back into the game and Mark Hughes equalised midway through the second period. Yet this was Blomqvist's night. Within 60 seconds the 20-year-old had teed up Magnus Erlingmark to restore the lead, and before United could conjure a response Pontus Kåmark made it 3-1 from the penalty spot – after a foul on Blomqvist.

IFK were through with a game to spare, their 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou a fortnight later confirming United's elimination as Barcelona pipped the English side to second. Sir Alex Ferguson would not forget this night, though: two years later he signed Blomqvist as a back-up to Giggs.