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Ferguson thanks fate for triumph

May 22, 2008 12:10 IST

Alex Ferguson said fate played a big hand on Wednesday as his Manchester United team won the Champions League 50 years after the Munich air disaster, having been watched by some of the survivors.

Harry Gregg, Albert Scanlon, Kenny Morgans, Bill Foulkes and Bobby Charlton were among those in the Luzhniki Stadium where United came back from the brink to beat Chelsea 6-5 on penalties after the match had finished 1-1 after extra time.

Chelsea would have won the trophy had their captain John Terry not slipped and missed his penalty in the shootout and for Ferguson that was not simply a case of luck.

"I said on the eve of the game that we wouldn't let the memory of the Busby Babes down," Ferguson said at his post-match news conference.

"I think fate played its hand, just as it has all season. We had a cause today and that's important. Causes are hard to fight against. People with causes become very difficult to go up against. Fate played its hand today when Terry slipped."

Those were familiar words from Ferguson.

In 1999, when United staged an astonishing comeback to beat Bayern Munich in the final, Ferguson gave much of the credit to the spirit of Sir Matt Busby, who would have been celebrating his 90th birthday on the night of that game in Barcelona.

"I think he was doing a bit of kicking for us up there," Ferguson said at the time.

On Wednesday, he was proud to claim his second European Cup -- United's third in all -- and was delighted to win a penalty shootout after tasting defeat on six previous occasions.

"I lost three with Aberdeen and three with United, not including Charity Shields, so it's seventh-time lucky," said Ferguson.

"I'm delighted with that. The slip from John Terry gave us an opening and I thought from then on we would win."

He added: "I feel proud, very proud, at winning it again. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself.

"The great asset is I don't get carried away by it. It drains away quickly for me. Tomorrow I'll be thinking about next season."

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