You know, that wasn’t the original title of this column…..
First it was, “Oh how the mighty have fallen…,”
AC Milan and Liverpool tangled in one of the best Champion’s League finals I can recall in recent memory, but they are also the answer to this question: What two perennial Champ’s League finalists are in the most disarray?
Back to the game…
It was one of the most dramatic soccer games I’ve ever witnessed. Will today’s Barcelona-Inter Milan semi’s match-up rival it?
The 2005 Champion’s League Final was, in short, one of those great games that even those who were not rooting for one of the sides recollect the environment where they watched it.
I remember watching the game in a rickety taco shack in the SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco. The crappy tables offset–oddly–by a gorgeous new HD television. I remember the incredulous final score (and victors) and emailing Shaun–a Liverpool fan–right afterward to ask him if his heart was still beating.
The final, a classic. AC Milan versus Liverpool in Istanbul, Turkey of all places.
The storyline? An improbable 3-2 penalties win after a 3-3 deadlock for perennial the bridesmaids from Liverpool. The Reds hadn’t won a major championship in nearly 20 years before that one.
Gerrard's goal should probably just be known in Champion's League lore as: "The Header"
However, as the storyline goes, it couldn’t have begun much worse for the team from Anfield. Just a minute in, Rafa and company found themselves on the wrong side of 1-0 on a goal by all-century Milan captain Paolo Maldini. The score then drooped to 2-0 for the English side and finally 3-0 before the break.
The trophy all but being etched permanently with victory for the Rossoneri.
But it was Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard in a game that at once created and stamped his legacy anew who notched a goal and a foul suffered to bring the team back and swap the scrawl on the trophy and history.
Take a moment to check out the clip below if you’re new to Champ’s League ball.
What’s immediately odd now about this all-time classic is the juxtaposition of the crumbling of Milan and Liverpool in 2010.