Liverpool have got back to 3-2 in the Champions League Final
With more than half an hour to play Liverpool were only one behind. Milan’s players looked shell shocked and couldn’t seem to believe what was going on.
Liverpool on the other hand were now pumped up and a few minutes later, just before the hour mark, Steven Gerrard burst into the Milan box and was brought down by Gattuso. The referee rightly awarded a penalty and Gattuso was lucky to stay on the pitch.
Xabi Alonso placed the ball on the spot but his strike was saved by Dida in the AC goal. Alonso, though, was the first to react and he pounced on the rebound and fired it high into the roof of the net to level the game.
Unbelievable. From 3-0 down at half time Liverpool were now level after an hour. The cup was anybody’s to win again.
Traore clears off the line
The remainder of the game was a tight, cagey affair with both sets of players looking drained by what had gone before. Both had put so much into what had been a fantastic game that no one wanted to make a mistake that lost the game for their club. The fear of defeat now seemed to outweigh the desire to win.
The best chance to win the game fell to Milan’s Shevchenko when Dudek fumbled Crespo’s cross and the Ukrainian struck the loose ball towards goal, only to see Liverpool defender Djimi Traore get back to clear it off the line.
The ref blew for full time and no one in the stadium quite knew what to say. Everyone was catching their breath after a rollercoaster match that still had 30 minutes extra time to play.
Liverpool hanging on
Milan went on to dominate the extra time and Liverpool were really hanging on once more. The miracle 15 minute period after half time where Liverpool drew the score level had now passed and Milan’s superior quality was showing again.
Chances came and went with the Brazilian, Serginho, on for Seedorf, repeatedly running at the Liverpool defence creating chances.
Shevchenko denied by incredible double save
Another piece of footballing magic came when Jerzy Dudek produced an amazing double save from Shevchenko. The striker powered a headed effort from inside the box which Dudek got down to save. As impressive as that save was, no one can really understand how he kept out the follow up.
Shevchenko was the first to react to his blocked shot and drove the rebound back at goal, Dudek still on the ground from his first save stuck out his arm to divert the ball over the bar.
It appeared Liverpool’s name was already on the cup. That was the last of the action and the game would now be settled with a penalty shoot out.
Dudek Liverpool’s hero in penalty drama
Serginho and Pirlo missed Milan’s first two penalties. Cisse, on for Baros, and Hamann scored to make it 2-0 to Liverpool. Then substitute Jon Dahl Tomasson scored and Riise missed for Liverpool to make it 2-1 after three penalties each.
Kaka and Smicer both converted their spot kicks before Shevchenko stepped up knowing he must score to keep Milan’s hopes alive. Dudek guessed right and stopped his shot to complete a disastrous day for the striker and Milan as a whole.
The stadium erupted in celebration and Liverpool’s players were delirious as captain Steven Gerrard was handed the trophy.
An amazing comeback was complete and Liverpool won the European cup for the fifth time, meaning they now get to keep the trophy permanently at Anfield.