Wednesday, June 23, 2021

High-Performance Library: The Next Big Thing

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Flashback: It’s toward the end of the 2008–2009 Premier League season, and my favorite team, Manchester United, are chasing their third consecutive League title. They have an unbelievable squad—a high-scoring forward line of Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov, and Wayne Rooney backed by a solid defensive spine, with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand bringing muscle to the back line. But while playing Aston Villa, a strong team they need to beat in order to retain their EPL title, Man U fall behind 2–1. In the second half, scrambling for the two goals needed for the win, longtime manager Sir Alex Ferguson takes a huge gamble and subs in Federico Macheda, a 17-year-old phenom making his Manchester United debut at striker.

Macheda gets involved in the game. He has a claim for a penalty turned down and then makes some good runs into the box. Manchester United continue to apply pressure, knowing they need two goals, but the clock continues to wind down. Finally, in the 80th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo, in his last season for the club, scores from the edge of the box to draw the sides level.

United need one more goal and have 10 minutes to find it . . .

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