Reyna takes Liverpool to Champions League final


Liverpool : Goalkeeper Pepe Reyna was the Liverpool hero as he saved two Chelsea penalties to take his side into the final of the Champions League.

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Liverpool won the return leg of the semi-final clash 1-0 in Liverpool after extra time Tuesday night, but then had Reyna save two penalties in the shootout to see his side go through 4-1 on penalties after the aggregate score ended 1-1.

Liverpool, which lost the first leg 1-0 in London last week, levelled the aggregate score in the 22nd minute from a free kick that Chelsea players expected to be played high into the area. Instead, Steven Gerrard played a low ball into the area and Danish defender Daniel Agger’s shot found its way past three Chelsea players for the opening goal.

Dick Kuijt nearly made it two for the home side on the hour, but saw his header from a John Arne Riise cross crash against the upright.

Neither side managed to find a goal in the remaining time and the match had to go into extra time.

Liverpool thought they had grabbed a second in the 100th minute after Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech failed to hold onto a long-range effort from substitute Xabi Alonso. The ball came to Kuijt, who slammed the ball over Cech into the Chelsea goal only to be ruled marginally offside.

The Dutchman had another opportunity a minute from the end of extra time after being found by substitute Robbie Fowler, but Cech did well to dive to his right for a terrific save.

In the penalty shootout, Reyna saved the spot kicks of Arjen Robben and Njitap Geremi, while only captain Frank Lampard scored for Chelsea. Liverpool had a 100 per cent record in the shoot-out with Boudewijn Zenden, Xabi Alonso, Gerrard and Kuijt all scoring.

The second finalist will be decided Wednesday between AC Milan and Manchester United, with the Premiership team holding a 3-2 advantage ahead of the clash in Italy.

The final will be played May 23 in the Greek capital Athens.