duminică, 25 mai 2008

Manchester United won Champions League


Manchester United won the Champions League by beating Chelsea 6-5 on penalties after a breathless all-English final had finished 1-1 after extra time on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who had put United in front with a 26th-minute header, missed in the shootout but Chelsea's John Terry hit the outside of the post with his spot kick when the title was at his mercy.

United's 37-year-old goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, appearing in his third final 13 years after his first with Ajax Amsterdam, then saved from substitute Nicolas Anelka to give United Europe's top prize for the third time.

Chelsea will feel aggrieved at the painful defeat after having the best of the final.

They equalised through Frank Lampard and twice hit the woodwork, but they will also rue a moment of madness from striker Didier Drogba, who was sent off near the end of extra time and missed the shootout.

There was little indication of what was to come during a flat opening 25 minutes.

But the game exploded into life when fullback Wes Brown curled in a cross that Ronaldo, inexplicably left unmarked, headed home for the 42nd goal of his all-conquering season.

Van der Sar kept United's lead intact nine minutes later with a terrific instinctive save after Rio Ferdinand almost headed into his own net.

It was then Petr Cech's turn to show his class when he did well to keep out Carlos Tevez's stooping header and then tipped over Michael Carrick's follow-up drive.

Chelsea had shown little but levelled at the end of the first half when Essien's long-range shot was deflected into the path of Lampard, who duly dispatched it from six metres.

Chelsea looked much more energised in the second half as Essien and Michael Ballack fired shots just over.

The patient, European-style approach of the opening quarter had been replaced by football with a Premier League trademark - high-paced and physical, with a sprinkling of errors and battered bodies littering the temporary turf.

Drogba was among them 12 minutes from time, but as he has so often before, made a miraculous recovery to spring up and curl a 20 metre shot against a post.

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