There are only a very few occasions when a team can -genuinely earn themselves the tag “Legend” and in the sport of Football, the place to do it is the Champions League final. In the year 2005, Liverpool managed to overcome a 3 – 0 on the Champions League finals against Milan… it has become the most important game the club has ever played.
Liverpool VS Milan, the 2005 Legendary Champions League Final
Liverpool vs Milan, Champions League finals 2005, the supporters of both the teams have just witnessed one of the most dominant first-half performances by a team in the finals of the competition. AC Milan who had eased their way into the finals beating the likes of Manchester United, Inter and PSV Eindhoven have just thumped the lucky finalist Liverpool who needed a last-minute goal from there captain Steven Gerrard to even get out of the group stages. Liverpool had fought off Bayern Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea to reach the finals but against AC Milan they had just met their match.
*Here are some videos with footage of the match. Complete documentary of the Miracle of Istanbul at the end.
The AC Milan team had the likes of Andriy Shevchenko, Andrea Pirlo, Paulo Maldini, Hernan Crespo and Kaka while the Liverpool team was led the young Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso to help in midfield.
By the end of first half AC Milan was in the lead by three goals thanks to the strikes of Milan Captain Paulo Maldini in the first minute and then a double strike by Hernan Crespo close to the end of the first period. The Milan players looked ecstatic heading off field for the halftime break while the Liverpool players were heading to the dressing rooms looking dejected.
The second-half started and Liverpool looked like a team still up for a fight. 6 minutes into the second-half Steven Gerrard converted through a header from Rise Cross and then within another minute Liverpool scored once more courtesy of Vladimir Smicer with a shot from outside the box. 3 – 2 was the score with Milan still on the lead and not 10 minutes had passed of the second half.
Before the clock hit 20 minutes Liverpool had just accomplished “Mission Impossible” after Steven Gerrard was brought down by Gattuso inside the box and Xabi Alonso scored from the resultant penalty after his first attempt was saved by the Milan keeper Dida.
3-3 was the score and 30 minutes remained in the game but a shell-shocked Milan team was not about to give up just yet, they threw everything at the Liverpool defence including the kitchen-sink but a Liverpool team who might have just achieved the most incredible of comebacks were defiant and did everything to not let another goal in.
The game went to extra-time and Liverpool still managed to hold-off the waves of Milan attacks. When Andriy Shevchenko finally managed to get past the Liverpool defence there stood one man, Jerzy Dudek, the Liverpool Keeper who pulled off the most incredible of double-saves from shots of Shevchenko the second one of which was from point blank range.
The game went into penalties and Dudek went on to save three penalties from Milan players resulting in Liverpool winning their fifth Champions League Trophy and perhaps registering the most incredible fight-back in the competitions rich history. Thus “The Miracle of Istanbul was born”.
The game was won by Liverpool but it was not only the eleventh players on the pitch that had a part in victory, Liverpool fans played an important role despite being 3-0 down at half-time and remained defiant singing “we’re gonna win 4-3!”. The Liverpool players when they came out after the halftime break were greeted to an amazing rendition of the club anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, by the Liverpool supporters in the stadium which acted as a catalyst to the Liverpool come back.
Perhaps the most iconic moment of the match comes when Gerrard gestures to the fans as if to say “Come ON!” after scoring the first goal in the come-back.
This is the beauty of Football. An underdog can beat a team full of superstars if they their heart out.
Miracle of Istanbul Documentary:
The 1999 Champions League final when Manchester United came back from a goal down to win 2-1 against a Bayern Munich or in more recent memory Real Madrid coming back from a goal down striking in the 93rd minute to draw against Atletico Madrid and later going on to win the match 4-1 in extra-time are just few of many examples of why the game is cruel and rewarding at the same time.
Soccer is truly worthy of its title of “Universal Sport”
Now check out the best Red Rivalry games between Liverpool vs Manchester United
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