Champions League Finals: Liverpool Vs AC Milan 2005
Road To The Final
Milan comfortably qualified from their group, losing just 1 game and coming top of the group ahead of Barcelona. On the other hand, Liverpool only just got through the group stage, qualifying for the second round on goal difference ahead of Olympiacos.
Both teams easily made it through the second round, Milan beating Manchester United 1-0 home and away, 2-0 on aggregate, and Liverpool beating Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 home and away, winning 6-2 on aggregate.
The Quarters were just as straightforward for the Italians, but not so for the English. Milan defeated their city rivals Inter Milan 5-0 on aggregate, while Liverpool scraped through 2-1 against Juventus.
Both found the Semi Final a lot trickier than previous rounds: Milan only got through on away goals against the Dutch PSV Eindhoven, and Liverpool sneaked a 1-0 win to English rivals Chelsea through a very dubious goal.
Arguably the greatest ever Champions League Finals, this really was a game of two halves.
The first half was all Milan's, and they got off to a flying start their captain Paolo Maldini opened the scoring inside the first minute. The half only got worse for LIverpool as Hernan Crespo scored 2 more before 45 minutes were up.
At half-time the score was 3-0 and Milan had all but won the greatest prize in football. Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, would have to come up with something special.
He decided to change something. He brought on a Dietmar Hamann, a midfielder, for Steve Finnan, a defender, and changed the formation to a more attacking 3-5-2 as they would have to go all out or they had no chance of pulling back 3 goals against one of the best defences ever.
What happened next was one of the most incredible few moments in any match ever.
In the space of 7 crazy second-half minutes Liverpool scored 3 goals; first, captain Steven Gerrard headed in. Just minutes later, Vladimir Smicer reduced the deficit to 1. 3 minutes after that,Gerrard was fouled in the box and LIverpool were awarded a penalty, with the chance to complete the best comeback ever.
Xabi Alonso, Gerrard’s midfield partner, stepped up to take it: Saved! But he squeezed in the rebound. 3-3!
So the game would need another 30 minutes to decide the winner.
Both teams had many chances to win, but were so tired after 90 minutes of exhausting football that they couldn't take full advantage of these.
The best chance of the period fell to Andriy Shevchenko, one of the best strikers around at the time. He took a shot; Dudek, the Liverpool goalie, saved it but the rebound fell straight back at his feet 6 yards out. Incredibly, Dudek saved again and tipped it over the bar.
That was the final chance of the game.
So after 120 minutes of exhilarating football, the biggest trophy in European football would come down to 10 kicks from 12 yards.
After 2 penalties each the score was 2-0 to Liverpool.
Tomasson scored for Milan. Then Riise missed, giving them a way back into the shoot-out.
Kaka took full advantage, and scored to make it 2-2.
Smicer scored to put Liverpool back in front at 3-2.
Shevchenko stepped up knowing he had to score or Liverpool would win. Dudek pulled off his second save of the shoot-out and Liverpool became European Champions!
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