Jose Mourinho vs. Sir Alex Ferguson: Game-by-Game History of Their Rivalry

Will TideySenior Manager, GlobalFebruary 11, 2013

Jose Mourinho vs. Sir Alex Ferguson: Game-by-Game History of Their Rivalry

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    Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson began their coaching duel in 2004, when Mourinho's Porto took out Manchester United on their way to the most unlikely of Champions League triumphs.

    For Mourinho, it was a defining victory that made everything possible. For Ferguson, it was the latest in a run of European failures and marked one of his most miserable seasons at Old Trafford.

    Mourinho has since led Chelsea and Inter Milan teams against Ferguson's United, and on Wednesday will be up against his old friend as the under-fire coach of Real Madrid.

    Mourinho's enigmatic team, for all their sparkling star power, are cut adrift of Barcelona and behind city neighbors Atletico in the Liga table. The title race is as good as over.

    The same is true in England, where Manchester United have opened a 12-point lead over Manchester City and Ferguson is staring down a 13th title. The 71-year-old, written off so many times in his 26 years at Old Trafford, is as hungry as ever and has built yet another impressive team.

    Domestic matters will be put aside this week, as Mourinho and Ferguson revisit a rivalry that has thus far been dominated by the Portuguese. Mourinho has won of six of their 14 meetings; Ferguson just two (or three if you count the one on penalties).

    Here's the game-by-game story of the Mourinho vs. Ferguson coaching battle so far...

Porto 2-1 Manchester United (February 2004)

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    COMPETITION: Champions League last 16, first leg

    GOALS: Porto—Benni McCarthy (2), United—Quinton Fortune

    Mourinho and Ferguson didn't get their relationship off to the smoothest of starts. A bad-tempered affair in Portugal saw Roy Keane sent off for stamping on goalkeeper Vitor Baia and Ferguson question the honesty of Porto's players (Guardian).

    "The keeper made a meal of it," said Ferguson after the game (BBC).

    United went ahead through South African midfielder Fortune (remember him?), but his countryman McCarthy (who would go on to play for Blackburn and West Ham) replied with a brace to win the game.

    With away goals in the equation, the tie was well-balanced heading back to Old Trafford. United remained favorites to go through.

Manchester United 1-1 Porto (March 2004)

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    COMPETITION: Champions League last 16, second leg

    GOALS: United—Paul Scholes, Porto—Francisco Costinha

    The game that will forever be remembered for Mourinho's celebration dash down the Old Trafford touchline.

    United led through a Scholes header and were going through on away goals, but a last-minute strike from Costinha sent Porto into the quarterfinals and resigned Ferguson to another deflating European exit.


Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (August 2004)

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    COMPETITION: Premier League

    GOALS: ChelseaEidur Gudjohnsen

    Mourinho began life under Roman Abramovich with a 1-0 win against Ferguson's United at Stamford Bridge.

    This BBC report attests to a close encounter which was won by Gudjohnsen's breakaway goal on 14 minutes. Big-money summer signing Didier Drogba was involved in the buildup.

    Ferguson, hit by injuries to his squad, played Roy Keane in central defence.

Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United (January 2005)

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    COMPETITION: Carling Cup, semifinal, first leg

    GOALS: N/A

    BBC Sport's report remembers this as an "entertaining" contest, in which Chelsea failed to take advantage of their chances at Stamford Bridge.

    To Old Trafford they went, with everything to play for.

Manchester United 1-2 Chelsea (January 2005)

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    COMPETITION: Carling Cup, semifinal, second leg

    GOALS: Manchester United—Ryan Giggs, Chelsea—Frank Lampard, Damien Duff

    This was a big one. Ferguson and Mourinho both had their teams unbeaten since October and the two managers were fighting for trophies on all fronts.

    There was no playing around with the starting lineups, as you often see in League Cup matches. Full-strength sides took the field and both managers were clearly desperate for a victory that could set the tone for the business end of the season.

    Lampard put Chelsea ahead, but a sumptuous chip from Giggs brought United level with 20 minutes to go.

    Duff's winner was a goal Tim Howard, in the United goal, will want to forget. The American goalkeeper misjudged his free-kick from out wide and the ball drifted into the net to send Chelsea through.

Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea (May 2005)

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    COMPETITION: Premier League

    GOALS: Manchester United—Ruud van Nistelrooy, Chelsea—Tiago, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Joe Cole

    Chelsea arrived at Old Trafford as Premier League champions. Mourinho had brought a title in his first season and the Blues were in the mood to celebrate.

    Ferguson's United went ahead through van Nistelrooy, but were outplayed by Chelsea, who had more invention going forward and looked the more dangerous throughout.


Manchester United 1-0 Chelsea (November 2005)

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    COMPETITION: Premier League

    GOALS: Manchester United—Darren Fletcher

    Ferguson got his first win against Mourinho at the seventh attempt and it came on the 19th anniversary of his appointment as Manchester United manager (BBC Sport).

    United needed a lift after successive losses to Middlesbrough and Lillethe former a 4-1 painful battering away from home. It arrived through a Fletcher header, which ended Chelsea's unbeaten league run of 40 matches (BBC Sport).

    "United were not the best team on the pitch," Mourinho told reporters after the game.

Chelsea 3-0 Manchester United (April 2006)

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    COMPETITION: Premier League

    GOALS: Chelsea—William Gallas, Joe Cole, Ricardo Carvalho

    Mourinho made it back-to-back titles in 2006, and what better way to celebrate than with a home win against the most dominant team of the Premier League era?

    Chelsea needed a point against United to get there. They got all three thanks to a 3-0 victory that will be remembered most for Joe Cole's superb solo goal that wrapped it up.

    "It was harsh and I don't think 3-0 was a fair reflection of our performance," said Ferguson afterwards.

    "The result perhaps does not reflect how well Manchester United played," admitted Mourinho.

    By this time, the pair were well-established in the routine of sharing a bottle of wine after matches.

Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (November 2006)

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    COMPETITION: Premier League

    GOALS: Manchester United—Louis Saha, Chelsea—Ricardo Carvalho

    United had a good start to the 2006-07 season and were ahead of Chelsea going into this clash at Old Trafford. Saha's fine finish put them 1-0 up, but Mourinho's resilient team equalized through a Carvalho header and left with a deserved point.

    In terms of the battle of styles that unfolded, this from the Guardian's Kevin McCarra:

    No matter where they stand at the end of the campaign, United will lead Chelsea in popularity charts. They delivered the entertainment, while Jose Mourinho's side made do with inspiring a sense of foreboding among their enemies. For a club of such intimidating means, the footballers, all the same, were scrappy.

Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United (May 2007)

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    COMPETITION: Premier League

    GOALS: N/A

    Not much to be said about this one. United arrived at Stamford Bridge with the title won and Ferguson duly sent out a weakened lineup that was barely recognizable from his strongest XI. The two teams had an FA Cup final on the horizon and weren't about to risk injuries.

    Said Mourinho after the game, "If somebody has to win, we had more chances, we dominated more and showed more ambition to win the game but the result is not important."

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (May 2007)

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    COMPETITION: FA Cup final

    GOALS: Chelsea—Drogba

    United were going for the Double at Wembley, but Didier Drogba's extra-time winner saw Chelsea home and gave Mourinho his first and only FA Cup triumph.

    Ferguson recently looked back on that game as a "lucky" win for Chelsea. He hasn't taken United to an FA Cup final since.

Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United, Utd Win on Pens (August 2007)

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    COMPETITION: Community Shield

    GOALS: Chelsea—Florent Malouda, Manchester United—Ryan Giggs

    Ferguson and Mourinho were back at Wembley for the Community Shield in August, as Premier League champions went up against FA Cup winners.

    A labored game went to extra-time and took penalties to be decided, with United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar making himself the hero to thwart Chelsea.

    Mourinho was in his last throes as Chelsea manager at this point. By the time the two teams met again, in September, he was gone and Avram Grant had taken over.

Inter Milan 0-0 Manchester United (February 2009)

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    COMPETITION: Champions League, last 16, first leg

    GOALS: N/A

    Mourinho's next destination was Inter Milan, but he was soon granted a return to a land that knew him as "The Special One" when Inter drew holders United in the knockout stages of the 2008-09 Champions League.

    The first leg was billed as clash between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo, but neither superstar could break the deadlock at the San Siro. There was a substitute's appearance from a young Mario Balotelli to keep viewers entertained, however.

Manchester United 2-0 Inter Milan (February 2009)

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    COMPETITION: Champions League, last 16, second leg

    GOALS: Manchester United—Nemanja Vidic, Cristiano Ronaldo

    Ferguson avenged the 2004 Champions League defeat to Mourinho's Porto with a 2-0 home victory over Inter at Old Trafford, secured with headers from Vidic and Ronaldo.

    Mourinho hugged Ferguson at the final whistle and had this to say to reporters after the game, as per ESPNFC:

    Today my players did absolutely everything. We played to our full potential as far as I am concerned. I don't think anyone should be negative about my team's display. If they do want to criticize them, they will have to fight with me. We played very well, but we didn't have any luck.