Full-time - 92'
1 - 0
UEFA Champions League
19:45 +00:00, March 8, 2005
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
Referee: Herbert Fandel
2nd Leg: 2 - 0 (Agg)
FULL TIME: United pressed in the second period, and threatened sporadically, but can have no complaints in being knocked out by a superb Milan side.
Ronaldo shapes to shoot with his right, cuts back on to his left, but his shot is blocked by Costacurta, who will be 39-years-old next month.
Heinze and Cafu clash off the ball, though it looked harmless enough. There will be two minutes of injury time.
SUB: Gattuso off, Costacurta on. Gattuso has played very well tonight, and done an excellent defensive job for his team. He tracked back with purpose and commitment and broke down innumerable attacks.
With a Milan player on the ground calling for treatment, Ronaldo turns down the chance to put the ball out of play and continues to attack. When the move breaks down, he is roundly booed by the home fans, and receives a word or two from veteran Cafu.
Milan are playing some great football now that the game has opened up. United are defending well, but offering little when they go forward now. Their heads, understandably, are drooping.
SUB: Dhorasoo on for Rui Costa. Dhorasoo, a comabtive, defensive-minded French midfielder replaces his more creative Portuguese colleague.
SUB: Brown off, Smith on for United. Desperation time from the Reds as they leave three at the back.
A quite stunning piece of football from Gattuso and Kaka on the edge of the United area, but Gattuso, off-balance, drags his shot agonisingly wide of the post.
Milan are beginning to defend deeper and deeper, but they have the quality at the back to cope with the through-balls and crosses that are being thrown in to their penalty area.
United can't really have any complaints about the result tonight; they have pressed in the second half, but have hardly created a bucket-load of chances.
Ambrosini is welcomed to the match by Scholes, who catches him on the ankle in the centre-circle.
Scholes falls as he is about to shoot, 30 yards out. Rooney takes the set-piece, and blasts it yards and yards over the bar. He pulls a face that suggests he thought he should have done better; either that, or he's just remembered that he hasn't paid a parking fine.
There's been another goal in the Ding-Dang-Do of a game at Chelsea: it's gone to the home team, who now lead 5-4 on aggregate. I'm sorry to tell you, readers: you picked the wrong game.
SUB: Ambrosini on for Crespo. A defensive move from Milan, but one they are entitled to make in their current position.
Kaka cuts in from the left and, finding himself unchallenged 20 yards out, fires in a right-foot shot just over the bar. He blames a bobble.
Gattuso is down and in need of treatment after a heavy challenge from Wes Brown. He's up on his feet quickly, though, dismissing the need for the physio.
So, it looks like this tie is drifting away from United. They are enjoying spells of possession, but can't quite find the right ball. Milan, also, look very dangerous on the break.
Ronaldo, operating down the United right at the moment, fires in a shot from distance, which Dida watches pass his left-hand post.
Howard slices an attempted clearance. He looks to the pitch in embarrassment. Milan have a corner deep in United territory, but Silvestre's interception averts the danger.
Kaka beats Silvestre with a combination of pace and guile, but Ferdinand comes across to help his colleague out. Corner, from which Rui Costa volleys over the bar.
Oooh! Brown's cross from the right eventually finds its way to Van Nistelrooy, who drags his shot horribly wide from six yards out. A great chance for the Dutchman, who throws his hands in the air in dispair.
Keane slides in to challenge as Crespo breaks in to the United area. The ball hit Keane on the hand as he lay on the ground, but the referee turns down Milan's claims for a penalty.
Ferdinand defends brilliantly as the ball is rolled towards Crespo, who is belatedly flagged off-side anyway.
From the resulting corner, Rooney shoots with immense power, on the volley, from 30 yards. It bounces a couple of yards wide, though it was a good effort from the youngster.
A nice step-over from Ronaldo fools Gattuso, who trips the United winger to give away a free-kick. Ronaldo takes the set-piece, curling in from the United left, but Stam defends wonderfully.
Cafu is found in yards of space down the Milan right wing, but his cross towards Crespo is mis-directed. Cafu has got through a phenomenal amount of work tonight.
Good defending from Stam prevents Scholes being put through inside the Milan penalty area. Rooney then gives away a free-kick for raising his foot too high.
United look forlorn, but the situation hasn't changed too much for the English side; they still need two goals to go through. Keane attempts to stir up some spirit.
GOAL! Superb cross in to the box finds Crespo in a little space, eight yards out. The Argentinian striker leaps well and flights a great header over Howard and in to the corner.
Rui Costa's heavy control thwarts a chance to break in to the box, but the loose ball falls to Seedorf, twenty yards out. His well-struck shot is deflected over the bar for a Milan corner.
Crespo goes down heavily in the area, to the disgust of the United players. Silvestre attempts to drag him to his feet, though Crespo plays dead. He isn't dead, however, as proved by the fact he gets to his feet moments later.
SUB: Giggs off, Fortune on. The facial injury that Giggs picked up is serious enough to end his participation in the match. He is replaced by Fortune, who came very close to scoring for United in the first leg.
Crespo enjoys two chances inside 60 seconds as United have to reorganise following the absence of Giggs. First he prods tamely at Howard when on the six yard box, then he heads wide after being found unmarked 10 yards out.
Gattuso, a sterdy, rough-and-ready young man sporting a beard that makes him look like a sardine fisherman, fires in a low shot which is deflected wide for a corner by Van Nistelrooy.
There has been a lot more spite and malice in the opening minutes of the second half that was evident in the first. Something in the half-time water, perhaps.
Giggs is taken off the field after an elbow strikes him in the face during a strong challenge from Gattuso. Blood streams from the Welshman's nose, and he looks a little bothered by the fact.
Cafu, after robbing Giggs of the ball in his own half, breaks at great pace and is found by Kaka's cross-field pass. He gets a little excited, however, and screws his shot well wide, when a cross to an unmarked Kaka might have been a better option.
Good close control from Seedorf in the area as he tries to work a position to slip a low cross in to Crespo, but Brown and Ferdinand defend well. Goal kick.
Rui Costa breaks through the middle, with Crespo to his left and Kaka to his right, but Heinze defends well and emerges with the ball. Scholes gifts possession back to Milan, however.
Silvestre then escapes a booking when he goes in late and high on Cafu, who nicked the ball away from the United defender moments before the challenge.
Heinze and Gattuso clash on the left touchline. The referee calls for a word with both, and defuses the situation with a stern gesture. Heinze is perhaps fortunate to escape yellow.
Great defending from Ferdinand as he robs Crespo of the ball in the corner. Van Nistelrooy and Cafu run in to each other on the halfway line.
So, here we are again. United kick off, desperately needing a goal. No substitutions. Wes Brown mis-controls, and Milan quickly set about breaking in numbers. Heinze intercepts.
HALF TIME: We might not have had any goals, but it has been an engaging 45 minutes. I think we're in for a tense second half, readers. You go and make yourself a cup of coffee, and join me in 15 minutes. Please.
Maldini attempts to get beyond Giggs, but is held back by the United midfielder. A good chance to throw the ball in, but Milan completely waste the free-kick.
It's been quite a quiet end to the half. I think United will be fairly content with a 0-0 scoreline at the break; they're certainly still in the game.
Crespo is found by a lofted Rui Costa pass in to the box, but he's well off-side.
Incidentally, readers; away goals count at the end of normal time this evening, not at the end of extra time. Thus, only a 1-0 victory for Manchester United would result in extra time in this fixture.
Keane lofts a great ball in to Rooney, who cushions a header down to Van Nistelrooy. The Dutchman is in a little space, but crashes his shot high over the bar from a good position.
What would you say if I told you there had been another goal at Stamford Bridge? You'd probably say: Commentator, you're pulling my leg. I'd say: No, I'm not. 3-3; a Ronaldinho equaliser for Barcelona.
Ooooh! Kaka crashes a shot against the top of the crossbar, with Howard well beaten. A pair of gloved hands cover the Brazilian forward's face.
Milan's willingness to get forward and assuredness on the ball means that United can't really afford to press forward as often as they like.
Both managers chew gum ferociously on the touchlines. I wonder if their jaws ache after matches? Giggs does very well to defend against Cafu, who is getting forward frequently.
Cafu narrowly fails to get on a through ball in the right side of United's penalty area. He would have been in a great position had he managed to keep the ball in play.
As I have no reputation left to risk, I'm going to suggest to you that Clarence Seedorf might have played in more Champions League finals than any other player. That sounds about right, doesn't it?
Kaka pounces on a loose ball 30 yards from United's goal, beats a couple of men, but drags his left-foot shot well wide.
Seedorf out-muscles Ronaldo, who crashes to the ground with an anguished cry; like that a cat emits when one (accidentally) steps on its tail.
Giggs whips in a left-foot free-kick after a foul on Keane, but Milan clear. Carlo Ancelotti is animated on the sidelines.
Scholes slips as he is about to strike the ball, slicing it horribly out of play. The Italian fans jeer in morbid delight; Scholes trots away unconcerned.
Wes Brown combines with Ronaldo on the United right. A low cross is well cleared on the volley by Nesta, but United win the corner.
Ooooh! Van Nistelrooy slips a lovely through ball in to Giggs, breaking down the left channel. The United man outpaces Gattuso, but his low left-foot shot hits the far post and bounces out of play.
Would you believe that Barcelona have pulled a goal back in London? I suppose you might have done, had I not grossly misinformed you a few minutes ago concerning the history of the San Siro.
Milan are enjoying a great spell of possession; their touch and vision is quite breathtaking.
United need to keep hold of the ball a lot better than they are doing at present. Their eagerness and verve is admirable, but they lack a little composure at the moment.
Keane flies in to a challenge with Maldini, who jumps over the United man's lunge and emerges with the ball. Earlier, Stam delights the San Siro faithful by stealing the ball from Rooney.
Rui Costa plays in a swinging low cross, but Crespo is beaten to the ball by Howard, who collects comfortably. He has started the game looking very assured, the United keeper. I wonder if the horrific gaffe he made against Porto last season is playing on his mind. It would if I were him. I'd be in a nervous sweat, talking in tongues by now.
Kaka goes down under a challenge from Scholes. Free-kick but no yellow card.
Ubelieveably, Chelsea are now 3-0 up in London. But don't be jealous, readers; we don't need them. We've got excitement and intrigue of our own. Stay with me; things are going to get interesting right about......now.
A cross from the Milan left causes a little panic in the United box, but Howard manages to punch clear.
Maldini berates his team-mates, and urges more concentration. He's a true legend, and has incredible cheekbones and superb hair. What a man.
Ronaldo is fouled by Gattuso as he broke down the right. Harsh decision, and the free-kick is too deep to cause any undue concern.
Pirlo swings in a great free-kick, but Crespo is beaten to the ball at the near post by Silvestre. Great set-piece.
Cafu is brought down by Giggs after some neat, one-touch play from Milan down their right-hand side.
Giggs attempts to break through between Gattuso and Cafu, but the German referee awards a free-kick to the home side. Giggs looks a little confused.
Stam plays a sensational, curved ball over the top of the United defence towards Crespo, bursting through the right channel. Crespo tumbles under pressure from Silvestre in the box, but the referee rightly ignores his pleas for a penalty.
Cafu and Silvestre enjoy a good battle down the Milan left, but the United defender does well to keep the Brazilian from getting past him.
A sloppy touch from Van Nistelrooy hands Milan the chance to attack on the counter. Rui Costa finds Kaka, but his shot from the edge of the area is straight at Howard.
If you care, Chelsea have gone a goal-up at Stamford Bridge; Eidur Gudjohnsen. Wowzers. No such action here, as yet.
Van Nistelrooy and Rooney link up, but the young Englishman's reverse pass is blocked by Nesta. He's usually one for the big occasion; can he produce tonight? I keep telling you; I don't know.
Crespo is found by Kaka on the right side, 20 yards out. The Argentinian - still on loan, remember, from Chelsea - hits a low shot which Howard saves well to his right.
United are enjoying plenty of possession in the opening stages, and look very positive on the ball. The full backs are getting forward at will.
My recent comment about the San Siro being built for the 1990 World Cup has subsequently been proved some way short of the mark. About 80 years short of the mark, in fact. So sorry.
Rui Costa tries to feed a ball through to the scampering Crespo, but Silvestre cuts out the danger.
Nesta heads back under pressure from Van Nistelrooy. The United striker has looked some way short of match 'sharpness' in recent weeks; he missed a succession of chances in United's Premiership draw with Crystal Palace at the weekend.
Milan seem to be shaping up with a 4-3-2-1 formation, United with a straight 4-4-2. Who does that favour? I don't know, in truth. Stay here: find out.
So, we're off. Great atmosphere inside this fabulour stadium. I think it was built for the 1990 World Cup. Don't take that as Gospel, however. I'll check it out and get back to you.
Do you believe in Omens? The last time Manchester United fielded Scholes, Keane, Ronaldo, Giggs, Van Nistelrooy and Rooney, they beat Arsenal at Old Trafford. It's like something out of the Twilight Zone...
Milan, meanwhile, have brought in former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam to bolster their already-impressive defence.
Team news: Sir Alex Ferguson has recognised the need for goals, and selected Rooney, Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo, Giggs AND Scholes; surely his most attacking side all season.