It is very rare to see Sir Alex Ferguson applaud an opponent player’s performance after a match, but the Scot ended up hailing Andre Dede Ayew after the Red Devils’ clash against Marseille in 2011 in the UEFA Champions League.
The match not only showcased the intensity of European football but also witnessed a standout performance by 22-year-old Ghanaian player, Andre Ayew who left a lasting impression on the mind of Sir Alex Ferguson.
As the two football giants locked horns at the Stade Vélodrome, tensions were high. The first leg of the Round of 16 tie had ended in a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, setting the stage for an enthralling second leg in France.
The game lived up to the expectations, with both teams displaying attacking prowess. In the midst of this intense battle, it was Andre Ayew who shone brightly. The son of Abedi Pele who had football in his veins showcased his skills on that fateful night.
In fact, many who recall the match described it as Nani vs. Andre Ayew. The Ghanaian player’s relentless energy, sharp dribbling, and creative play posed a constant threat to the Manchester United defence.
His vision on the field was evident as he weaved through the opposition, creating scoring opportunities and trying his luck against Van der Sar.
The match ended in a 2-1 victory for Manchester United, with Chicharito Hernandez netting a brace and Wes Brown scoring an own.
However, it was Ayew’s standout performance that caught the attention of the legendary Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ayew was a thorn in the flesh of Nani who had a tough time on the pitch. After the match, the Scottish coach who is known for his discerning eye for talent, couldn’t help but applaud the young Ghanaian’s efforts.
Ferguson was quoted to have said, ”I should be honest and say that Marseille pressed us to our own half, they did not let us play our game.
”For example, Ayew played a great game, he defended and Nani was unable to pass through. He spent a lot of energy and really played a good game.”
Andre Ayew’s display of skill, determination, and footballing intelligence left an indelible mark on the minds of fans on that day.
Not long after, Andre Ayew joined Swansea in the Premier League and announced his presence when he helped the Swans beat the Red Devils when he scored and assisted in their 2-1 win.
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