Liverpool beats Milan on penalties in Champions League final
Thursday, May 26, 2005
In a dramatic Champions League final between football clubs Liverpool and AC Milan, English club Liverpool won the trophy after a penalty shootout despite being 3 goals behind their Italian opponents before half-time.
A.C. Milan's veteran Paolo Maldini scored in the first minute of the match after a corner kick. After Hernan Crespo scored twice for Milan before half-time, it looked like Liverpool had no chance. But the Reds' performance changed dramatically after half-time. Steven Gerrard was the first to score for Liverpool, inspiring the rest of the team. In a quick succession Milan's goalkeeper Dida saw the goals of Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso (the latter scored after a controversial penalty decision) in his net.
After the equalizer the game was even and both teams took a cautious approach. After 90 minutes the score was still 3-3 and so it went to extra time. Jerzy Dudek made two incredible saves off of Andriy Shevchenko shots in the last minutes of extra time to push the contest into a penalty shootout. Then, again, Polish goalkeeper Dudek saved the day for Liverpool by stoping two shots. Liverpool won, scoring three penalties to Milan's two.
Milan supporters were very disappointed at the loss. Silvio Berlusconi, the owner of AC Milan, as well as Prime Minister of Italy, said: "Milan played much better throughout. We created move after move while they didn't create one move worthy of the name. What a shame." Italian sport newspaper Gazetta della Sport commented: "Incredible. Milan lost on penalties a cup that it had already won. It lost it badly, very badly. A team which scores three goals in the first 45 minutes, outclasses its adversary, stuns it with staggering moves, cannot let in three goals in six minutes."
Those who supported Liverpool were delighted at the unexpected victory. England national team coach Sven-Göran Eriksson praised Liverpool's performance, saying: "What a game it was, heroic. I've never seen a European final like that ever, it is great news for all of us working in English football." Triumphant Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said he is "on top of the world" and also said he would stay with Liverpool after this victory, despite interest from such clubs as Real Madrid and Chelsea.
Liverpool (4-4-1-1): Dudek; Finnan (Hamann, h-t), Hyypiä, Carragher, Traore; Garcia, Alonso, Gerrard, Riise; Kewell (Smicer, 23); Baros (Cissé, 84). Substitutes not used: Carson (gk), Josemi, Nunez, Biscan.
Milan (4-3-1-2): Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Stam, Maldini; Gattuso (Rui Costa, 112), Pirlo, Seedorf (Serginho, 84); Kaka; Shevchenko, Crespo (Tomasson, 84). Substitutes not used: Abbiati (gk), Kaladze, Costacurta, Dhorasoo.
Goals (Milan): Maldini 1, Crespo 39, 44. Goals (Liverpool): Gerrard 54, Smicer 56, Alonso 59.
Referee: M Gonzalez (Spain).
Match reports 
- Sam Wallace. "Vintage Liverpool produce epic response and triumph in Turkey" — , May 26, 2005 (biased but quite extensive)
- "Reds Glory after Penalty Drama" — , May 25, 2005
- "AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (aet)" — , May 25, 2005
- "Glorious Gerrard Drops Hints" — , May 26, 2005
- "Eriksson hails 'heroic' Liverpool" — , May 26, 2005
- "Berlusconi stands by Milan coach" — , May 26, 2005