Thursday, May 26, 2005

Liverpool FC - Kings of Europe

What can say? The feelings is absolutely magnificent. Liverpool has completed the most amazing and the greatest comeback in the history of European Cup Final. From 3-0 down at the interval to 3-3 by 60 mins and went on clinch the ultimate prize in Europe football by winning the penalties. Truly truly unbelieveable.

Going back into the game, I was expecting a tight and cautious game in the first 30 minutes. Even before any fans in the stadium and home views can get their seats warm up, AC Milan scored from a free kick! Of all people, Paolo Madini. The time: 00:50. I was stunned and so the thousands of the Red fan across the world. Suddenly the cheers from the Kop supporter was drowned by the chant from the Milan's fan. What on earth is happening?

As the match progressed on, it was clearly Liverpool was lacking creativity and ideas. Their tactic was failing them. In the 39 mins, Liverpool had a claim for a penalty but was fallen deaf ear by the refree from Spain. Within seconds, Milan countered attack and scored their 2nd goal through loan signing Hernan Crespo from Chelsea. The match was well and truly over when Crespo scored Milan's third after a sublime skill from playmaker Kaka. His pass was inch perfect and it eluded the Liverpool defence for Crespo to flicked it pass Dudek. Liverpool feared the worse in the second half. I was thinking "Oh no, a potential thrasing?"

No one gave Liverpool any chance in the second half, it was pride to play for. Is Benitez midas touch deserting him at the final moment where it matter most?

Changes were made to allow Stevie to push forward. Liverpool started the second half with more purpose. Just when Liverpool started to asert themselves, Milan had a free kick saved by Dudek. Then 54 mins, Riise put in a cross, Gerrard was the first to head the ball, it flew in past a helpless Milan's keeper Dida. 3-1, Lifeline for the team in red. 2 mins later, Smicer who was playing the last match for Liverpool fired a low range shot.....Dida could not save it and flew into net. 3-2! This time, the Liverpool fans in the stadium erupted. They sense blood and they sense victory. The chant of "You'll Never Walk Alone" filled the whole stadium. I was delighted. I sat up feeling something magical is happening. 2 mins later, Gerrard was brought down by Gattuso in the penatly box. Penalty!!!!!!! Xavi Alonso took the kick. Saved! Rebound off Dida and put in by Alonso! 3-3. The fans gone absolutely wild. I was quietly shouting "yes..yes!". The commentors can't believed it! Liverpool is believing in themselves. The score board read 3-3! Milan has been swept by the Red storm in 6 minutes of madness.

The match went into extra time with Milan almost put the sword into Liverpool's heart when Shevchenko almost scored if not for a outstanding double save from Dudek. With the save, it was written in the stars that Liverpool FC name is on the Cup. It's into penalty kicks.

Milan has the psychological advantage of taking the first penalty facing their fans. However this backfired. Serginho stepped to take the 1st kick, over the bar!!!! Haman stepped up for Liverpool first kick. No mistake. 1-0 to the Reds. Pirlo next kicker for Milan. Dudek saved! Advantage Liverpool. With this save, I knew the Cup was there for the taking. Cisse reverted the 2nd kick for Liverpool. 2-0. Tomasson scored to make it 2-1. Riise missed to hand Milan a lifeline. Kaka scored to make it 2-2. It's nail biting stuff. My heart is pumping. Blood rising. Smicer must scored..he did! 3-2 to Liverpool. Now, if Shevchenko misses this, the Cup is for Liverpool to keep. The fans whistled to distract him, Liverpool player's arm around one another and thousands of Liverpool fans glued to the TV set. Shevchenko stepped up.....Dudek saved!!!!!!!!!!!! The whole stadium erupted once again, players running to hug Hero of the moment - Dudek. How often can you witness such matches. It's a fairy tale ending for Liverpool Football Club in their European adventure. Rafael Benitez, the coach with the midas touch has done it again. Juventus, Chelsea and now AC Milan. Remarkable display by the Reds.

What a night for Liverpool Football Club, its officals, its staff, the players and the fans. We can now say" WE ARE THE KINGS OF EUROPE ONCE AGAIN".

I'm close to tears after the match. I could not sleep. I'm speechless. ..........
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