Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Champions League Final

Congratulations to AC Milan on winning the 7th UEFA Champions League title in the Italian club's storied history today. Milan beat Liverpool 2-1 in Athens this afternoon by way of two goals from Filippo Inzaghi, one right before halftime (45th minute), and held on after Dirk Kuyt pulled one back late (89th minute) for Liverpool off a header.

Jermaine Pennant gave the veteran Rossoneri defense fits today and was clearly the most outstanding Liverpool player on the OACA Spyro Louis Stadium pitch. He excelled in Rafael Benitez's 4-5-1 scheme on the flank and consistently ran at Milan's defenders, providing the Reds with great energy and a bit of dash into an otherwise uninspired performance.

Filippo Inzaghi's two goals handed him Man of the Match honors, and it was fitting that a player who was forced to miss the memorable comeback by Liverpool in 2005 would play in this rematch and be the difference. Inzaghi deflected an Andrea Pirlo free kick in immediately before the stroke of halftime and then clinically finished a sublime pass from Kaka to put his team up 2-0. Kuyt scored for Liverpool to make stoppage time interesting, but AC Milan held out and survived to win the game. Liverpool did appear to get jipped out of at least a minute of injury time however, as the referee blew his whistle 30 seconds before the allotted 3 minutes and Milan made substitutions during that time as well..

With the win, Milan avenged their heartbreaking penalty kick loss to Liverpool in the Champions League Final two seasons ago and locked up their 7th European club title, putting them just 2 behind Real Madrid for the most in European history.

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