Liverpool win Champions League Final

May 26th, 2005 by Ciarán Leave a reply »

Liverpool last night won the Champions League Final in a penalty shootout with AC Milan. It was a thrilling game, with AC Milan dominating the first half, scoring inside the first minute, and then twice more to leave the score 3 – 0 at half time. Then Rafa Benitez changed his formation and brought on Didi Hamann, and Liverpool came back from the dead. A deft header by their captain Steven Gerrard, a strike from outside the box by Smicer, and a penalty scored on the rebound by Xabi Alonso brought the scousers level at 3 – 3 by full time to bring the match into extra time.

Both sides looked tired, and both Smicer and Carragher suffered from attacks of cramp during extra time, but the team in red held on. Milan nearly won the match at the death, as Shevchenko fired towards goal from a few yards out, but Dudek made a great save, only to pull off a miraculous follow up, as Shevchenko hit the rebound. No-one in the stadium could believe it, least of all Dudek!

The russian roulette that is the penalty shoot-out arrived, and Liverpool felt it was going to be their night as Milan’s first penalty taker sent his shot high over the bar. Dudek saved Pirlo’s weak attempt, but let another two in, while Liverpool had scored 3 out of their 4. It was now down to Shevchenko, who had to score to keep Milan in the match. Dudek dived to his right, while Shevchenko fired down the centre. However, Dudek managed to get a hand to the ball, and confirmed his position as Liverpool’s hero of the night.

It was a remarkable game, and Liverpool deserved to win after mounting a remarkable comeback. It remains to be seen whether UEFA will change the rules for next season’s Champions League and allow Liverpool into the competition to defend their title, despite failing to qualify through their domestic league position. The initial signs are not encouraging, with UEFA not budging on the issue according to the BBC. Liverpool can take some consolation in the fact that they get to keep the trophy, having won the competition in its various guises for the fifth time.


Comments are closed.