The stage was set... the players had their scripts... all that was needed was for the hero of the day to not forget his lines. He didn't.
It turned out to be the near-perfect way to celebrate so momentous an occasion as this. Manchester United's Ryan Giggs, who celebrated his 900<sup>th game for his beloved Red Devils on Sunday's trip to Norwich City, had the perfect gift for his club - a 90<sup>th minute winning goal!
Hollywood couldn't have scripted it better... even with the Oscars around the corner.
Sir Alex Ferguson named a strong starting 11 against a team that although looked and sounded unfancied, actually lay a comfortable 8<sup>th in the Premier League, only four points shy of mighty Liverpool in 7<sup>th. Javier Hernandez, Welbeck, Nani, Scholes and Giggs all started, with Carrick, Evra, Evans, Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand providing defensive cover for David De Gea.
The Red Devils had the perfect start. Recalled veteran Paul Scholes headed them into the lead after only 7 minutes, following a cross from Nani. That should have been the signal for the floodgates to open... but a strangely quiet Manchester United could only muster shots from Welbeck and Scholes inside the opening 20 minutes, in what was proving to be a match with a number of niggling fouls.
The hosts registered their first shot on target in the 21<sup>st minute, with Zak Whitbread's header blocked. Andrew Surman then missed with a shot from outside the box on 24 minutes and Norwich had United on the ropes in the minutes after that, with Grant Holt, Anthony Pilkington and Kyle Naughton firing in quick succession.
The two sides continued trading shots on goal as the match wore on, with Hernandez getting in on the action for United and Holt and Surman continuing to ask a few questions of the visitors' back line.
Manchester United, however, went into half time leading 1-0.
Norwich must have had a earful from their manager because they came out for the second half and immediately began testing De Gea and co, with Surman and Bradley Johnson taking potshots. Sir Alex responded by bringing the pace and guile of Ashley Young on for Hernandez and almost immediately United were back on top; Giggs, the hero of the day, hit the bar with a shot in the 72<sup>nd minute.
It seemed that despite the profusion of shots nobody else had really brought their shooting boots with them.
Then, in the 83<sup>rd minute, Norwich threatened to ruin Giggs' party. Grant Holt, who had been continually troubling United, fired home after an assist from Whitbread. It almost turned into utter disaster for United a couple of minutes later, when Holt's umpteenth shot of the day was saved by De Gea. United needed a reply... and quickly!
The winning goal came, as all good dramatic winners must, in extra time. Giggs and his trusty left foot latched on to an Ashley Young cross... and Manchester United were back to within two points of city rivals Manchester City, at the summit of the English Premier League.
As for Ryan Giggs... he's played so many games and scored so many goals for Manchester United that he's probably forgotten half of them. This one, though, might just stick around in his mind for a while.
Norwich City 1 (Holt 83') lost to Manchester United 2 (Scholes 7' and Giggs 90+2')
Norwich City are now in 8<sup>th place in the league, with 35 points from 26 games. They will next play Stoke City away, on March 3.
Manchester United are in 2<sup>nd place, with 61 points from 26 games. They will next play Tottenham Hotspur away, on March 4.