The English club entered Wednesday's Champions League match with a 2-0 deficit in aggregate score. It seemed as though the European competition would have a disappointing result to go along with a poor league season.
However, a Robin van Persie hat-trick helped turn things around as Manchester United were able to leave with a 3-2 aggregate victory to advance to the quarterfinals.
While van Persie got most of the publicity, Giggs was a big reason for team's success due to his excellent showing all over the pitch.
The veteran leader got the start in the UCL match after struggling to get into the line-up in league play. This brought some criticism from those watching at home:
A man of 40 starts in midfield for United. No wonder the self-styled 'biggest club in the world' is in freefall. #Giggs— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 19, 2014
However, he came through with a strong effort that was seen right away. When van Persie drew a penalty in the 25th minute, it was thanks to an impressive pass by Giggs. NBA star Steve Nash knew a great play when he saw it:
Ridiculous pass by giggs.— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) March 19, 2014
United were then able to add to the lead with another play started by Giggs, as noted by Oliver Kay of The Times:
2-0 for #MUFC in first-half stoppage time. Rooney cross, Van Persie finish. Giggs the architect again. 2-2 on aggregate now— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) March 19, 2014
Although he was not credited with an assist on either score, it was obvious that the midfielder had an important hand in both.
Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News felt that this shows Giggs needs more playing time:
Giggs passes to set up both goals. Makes you wonder why he hasn't been more involved recently.— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) March 19, 2014
The home team was able to capture the aggregate lead in the second half and then hold onto it to secure a huge win for the organization.
Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated was proud of the club's key players for stepping up in a big moment:
Manchester United has a lot of problems, but the way Van Persie, Giggs & Rooney have played today is inspiring as hell.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) March 19, 2014
Giggs has only made six league starts this season, but he has still provided plenty of leadership to the club off the pitch. There were reports that the midfielder had a rift with manager David Moyes, but he called that, "Total and utter rubbish," according to Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star.
With no personal issue and a clear showing that he can still perform at a high level, this could lead to more starts for the 40-year-old player. Then again, the club will not want to go overboard due to the fact that fatigue will be a heavy factor at his age.
Still, it is good to know that this type of weapon is available when needed for big matches.
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