25 May 2005
MILAN 3-3 LIVERPOOL
Maldini gave Milan the lead with the first attack. Unmarked he caught Pirlo's free kick on the volley and the ball bounced past Dudek. On the quarter hour mark Luis Garcia cleared Crespo's header off the line as Liverpool continued to look venerable on set pieces. Kewell, a surprise starter, was replaced by Smicer mid-way through the half after failing to recover from a strong challenge by Nesta. The luckless Shevchenko had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside. Seconds after Liverpool were crying blue murder over the non award of a penalty after the ball struck Nesta's elbow Crespo had doubled Milan's lead. Maldini recovered the ball and Seedorf and Pirlo moved it onto Kaka', he chipped a gorgeous pass over the top of Traore and Shevchenko ran into the box and pulled back for Crespo and he shot first time past Dudek. Milan went 3-0 up with another counter attack. Kaka' turned Gerrard in his own half before sliding a 50 yard pass right through the heart of the Liverpool defence and Crespo finished with aplomb, lobbing over the advancing Dudek.
At this point Milan supporters and most probably the players were looking at a record margin of victory but a substitution and six minute spell inexplicably turned the game in Liverpool's favour but not before Dudek made a stunning save from a Shevchenko free kick. Hamann came on for Finnan thus releasing Gerrard from his defensive duties. He scored with a fantastic header from Riise's cross and Milan crumbled. From a throw in Hamann passed to Smicer and he tried his luck from the edge of the box, even thought it was well struck normally you would expect Dida to save but despite getting a touch the ball flew into the net. Gerrard, under pressure from Gattuso, dived to win a penalty, contact was minimal and extremely brief. Dida saved Xabi Alonso's initial effort but the Spaniard scored on the rebound. Having got on level terms Liverpool failed to put the Milan goal under further pressure and the ossoneri were left to rue a string of missed chances. Dudek spilled Kaka's cross and Shevchenko saw his effort hacked off the line by Traore. Both teams substituted their strikers, Cisse came on for Baros and Tomasson replaced Crespo. Seedorf was also replaced by Serginho. Late in the half Stam powerfully met a cross from Pirlo's corner but Kaka' failed to re-direct the ball on target.
In extra time Gerrard effectively played at right back and Liverpool again conceded the initiative. Tomasson missed a great chance late in the first period, slashing horribly wide after Serginho hit a great cross to the back post. As Liverpool weren't posing an attacking threat Ancelotti went for broke on brought on Rui Costa for Gattuso. Two minutes from time Dudek made an incredible double save from Shevchenko, first from his header then someone managed to block the follow-up. After that it was inevitable Liverpool would win on penalties.
Miss : Dudek did his jelly leg Grobbelar routine and Serginho skied the first penalty
Goal : Hamann went to Dida's right
Save : Dudek was dancing around on his goal-line and left a huge gap to his left so Pirlo shot right
Goal : Cisse went left
Goal : Tomasson blasted the ball low and hard sending Dudek the wrong way
Save : Dida palmed away Riise shot, similar to the effort he was beaten on by Smicer
Goal : Kaka' sent Dudek the wrong way
Goal : Smicer with probably the best penalty of the night, slammed into the corner
Save : Shevchenko shot just wide of centre hit without any conviction easily saved
Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties.
There's no doubt which team played the better football but defending is also part of the game and Milan, who have built their legacy on a fantastic defensive, crumbled as they had done against Depor and PSV. It was an inexcusable collapse. Milan need fresh legs and a physiatrist and I need to wake up from this ******* NIGHTMARE.
Attendance : 69,000
Assists : Pirlo (fk), Shvchenko, n/a, Riise, Hamann, n/a