Home Sports Inzaghi the hero as AC Milan win Champions League

Inzaghi the hero as AC Milan win Champions League


Athens : Filippo Inzaghi was the hero for AC Milan as his two goals gave the Italian side a 2-1 win over Liverpool and secured them European Champions League glory for the seventh time in their history.

Liverpool were the better side for the majority of the match but a fortuitous first goal and a well-taken second proved enough to give Carlo Ancelotti's side victory, and a small measure of revenge for their defeat by Liverpool in the final two years ago.

"Today, their hearts bleed, as ours did two years ago," Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso said.

"We controlled things in the first half," Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said.

"We didn't dominate as much in the second half as we wanted to. Credit to AC Milan, but we've got to be proud of ourselves, done so well to get to the final.

"But we go again next year, and we'll play in another one of these finals again.

"It's difficult to take. It's heartbreaking. But games are decided on small things, a bit of luck. And they had that tonight. We gave everything we had and it wasn't to be."

When Dirk Kuyt pulled one back for Liverpool two minutes from time, Liverpool fans may have dreamt of another miraculous comeback after their recovery from 3-0 down to win in Istanbul in 2005.

But they could not find a way through and referee Herbert Fandel then blew the whistle 20 seconds before the minimum of three minutes of allotted extra time had been played, prompting anger from Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez as Milan's players celebrated.

All the talk before the game was of how Liverpool could stop the likes of Brazilian Kaka and Italian World Cup winner Andrea Pirlo, but for 44 minutes, neither man was effective as Liverpool dominated proceedings.

Benitez chose to play Gerrard off a lone striker, Kuyt, with Jermaine Pennant on the right and Pennant had the first chance, forcing Dida into a decent save low to his right.

Xabi Alonso fired wide from distance and Kuyt had a shot blocked, while Gerrard volleyed over and Riise was also high from long range.

Milan had only one chance in the first half with Kaka forcing Pepe Reina into a decent save low to his left, but other than that they were toothless as Liverpool controlled the game until Alonso gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Pirlo stepped up to fire a free-kick and it hit Inzaghi on the chest and went past Reina.

Benitez brought on Harry Kewell for the ineffective Boudewijn Zenden on 58 minutes and four minutes later, Liverpool had a great chance to equalise when Gerrard broke free but his shot was straight at Dida.

Liverpool poured forward in search of a goal, and Peter Crouch came on 13 minutes from time but on 82 minutes, Kaka played Inzaghi through and the Italy striker rounded Reina to score the second with his 58th goal in European football.

The match looked over but Daniel Agger flicked on a corner and Kuyt headed a goal for Liverpool, lifting their hopes of forcing extra time.

But Liverpool could not create another chance and Milan hung on to seal their seventh European Cup win.