Final score - after penalties - 127'
(2)3 - 3(3)
UEFA Champions League
18:45 +00:00, May 25, 2005
Atatülrk Olympiyat Stadi
Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties
Thanks for sticking with Soccernet through the competition: make sure you come back for all the reaction and celebrations over the next couple of days.
England can be proud again.
My flat-mate is a Liverpool fan. He's going to be excited right now. Excited, and drunk. I hope the neighbours are out.
"It hasn't sunk in," says Gerrard. He spits on the ground and picks his nose as he is asked some inane question. Then he mumbles something about being proud and the fans being the 12th man. Then he disappears in to the fog.
Carragher is interviewed. His voice is so high that only dogs can hear what he's saying. He mentions something about his groin and his calf, before making a sound that resembles a horse neighing.
Cisse and Traore embrace with their tops off. There are a lot of muscles and tatoos involved.
Dudek is interviewed by British television. He makes no sense in his words, mumbling something about Bruce Grobelaar. His eyes are darting all over the show.
Maldini kicks his heels. He wanders around the hlaf-way line with his arms crossed. He looks moody and surly, but very handsome. He can take some consolation in that.
Riise skips like a girl, and Garcia jigs along with his friend. Gerrard is mobbed by random strangers. Hamann almost musters a smile.
The celebrations are wild. The Liverpool players have run the length of the field to cheer with their own fans, who are combusting with excitement and glee.
This was a special effort from Liverpool. A stunning comeback.
MILAN 2-3 LIVERPOOL: Shevchenko tries to be cute. He succeeds only in chipping the ball lamely at Dudek and making himself look like a fool. LIVERPOOL WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!!!!
MILAN 2-3 LIVERPOOL: Smicer keeps Liverpool's noses in front with a calm side-foot effort. He affords himself a smug smile.
MILAN 2-2 LIVERPOOL: Kaka crashes his shot high in to the net, ignoring Dudek's blatent efforts to put him out of his stride.
MILAN 1-2 LIVERPOOL: Dida makes Riise wait by disappearing behind the goal. The Milan keeper then makes a stunning low save as Riise side-foots for the corner.
MILAN 1-2 LIVERPOOL: Tomasson sprints up to the ball and drives his shot home. Like a whirlwind. Blink and you'll miss it.
MILAN 0-2 LIVERPOOL: Cisse explodes with joy as he side-foots home. He jumps and jigs and pumps his arms.
MILAN 0-1 LIVERPOOL: Pirlo tamely shoots to Dudek's right, but the keeper, a yard or so off his line, palms his effort wide. Dreadful penalty. She should be ashamed.
MILAN 0-1 LIVERPOOL: Hamann stutters in his run-up, but curls a good shot inside Dida's right-hand post. He takes a deep breath, and sticks his tongue out as he walks back to the centre circle.
MILAN 0-0 LIVERPOOL: Serginho places the ball very carefully. He skies it over the bar. Terrible penalty, and he looks rightly broken. Doofus.
Cisse is being lined-up for a penalty, as it seems is Garcia. Liverpool, we're told, haven't practised penalties in training this week. A mistake?
The Liverpool fans attempt to rally their team. Dudek looks nervous as he chats to a Liverpool coach. He could emerge a hero tonight.
Both managers attempt to drum up enthusiasm for a penalty shoot-out. They fail - their players look shattered and broken.
FULL-TIME: We have penalties.
...the ball is worked to Riise, but Shevchenko charges down the shot.
Hamann makes a great, determined run from defence as he attempts to launch a final attack. Liverpool win a free-kick in a great position, 25 yards out...
Both sets of fans look incredibly nervous, but perhaps the Liverpool fans will have more heart as penalties approach; the way they have dragged themselves back in to the match should give them great hope.
Dudek has kept his side in this match, but Shevchenko really should have scored. Milan would have wanted no-one else on the end of that chance.
Oooh! A quite incredible save from Dudek, instictively saving from Shevchenho as he attempted to prod home a rebound from inside the six-yard box.
Cisse is up front on his own at the moment, and Liverpool are struggling to find him with their clearances. Milan are having much more of the ball.
...Pirlo curls the ball in, but Garcia closes him down and deflects the cross out for a corner, which Liverpool clear with ease.
Garcia is robbed on the edge of his own penalty area by Pirlo. The Italian is then brought down by Hamann on the left-hand side of the box...
Alonso wins a free-kick when he is brought down on the touchline. Benitez shouts out some instructions to his tiring team.
Again, Carragher is forced to stretch as he turns away a cross from the left. Milan are beginning to turn up the heat a little as the game enters the final stages.
SUB: Gattuso off, Rui Costa on. An attacking change as Ancelotti makes his final roll of the dice.
Oooh! Carragher stretches as he turns away a low cross. The defender stays down and needs some treatment, though it looks to be only a touch of cramp.
Cisse opts to shoot from 25 yards when a pass to Garcia, unmarked to his right, would surely have been a better option.
Gerrard's corner is deep, towards Hyypia, but Carragher is adjudged to have fouled his marker as he contested the knock-down.
Good determined work from Cisse wins Liverpool a corner. A deflected Hamann shot from the edge of the area wins the English side a second moments later.
Liverpool have improved their passing and aren't giving the ball away as frequently as they were, but there is no real sign of them threatening a winner. Of course, it only takes a second...
We're off again. There are 15 minutes remaining for one of these sides to break the deadlock. With the players looking as tired as they do, I can't see it happening.
HALF-TIME, EXTRA-TIME: Milan probably edged the first period of extra-time, though Liverpool looked reasonably comfortable.
Smicer spends some time on the turf, holding the back of his right leg. He receives some treatment on the sidelines, possibly for cramp in his hamstring.
All the pace has gone out of the game; both sets of players look very tired. They are probably drained emotionally and physically.
Gerrard again defends well against Serginho down the Milan left. Substitute Serginho is getting plenty of the ball at the moment, and Gerrard is having to work hard to contain him.
Carragher huffs and puffs as he takes a throw, deep in his own half. He looks very tired, which is a worrying sign when he's up against Shevchenko.
Oooh! Tomasson is inches away from turning home a low cross from the Milan left. He was under pressure from Traore, who might have got a faint touch to put the striker off.
Most of Gerrard's work is coming in a defensive role at the moment; he does well to track back and rob Kaka as the Brazilian burst in to the box.
Serginho slides a nice ball between Carragher and Hyypia, but Tomasson is ruled off-side by the linesman. Liverpool need to be wary.
There is a suggestion that Gerrard might have picked up a slight injury; he isn't running too freely, and it would explain his positional switch.
Neither side have begun the extra-time with much rhythm or fluency; I have a feeling this is going all the way to penalties...
Gerrard seems to be playing a bit deeper than he was in the second half, and perhaps has been shifted over to the right wing.
A late off-side flag stops Cisse in his tracks after the French striker had made a run in behind the ageing Milan defence.
Milan win a free-kick, but Pirlo smashes the shot high and wide. Milan have been restricted to long shots since half-time.
Alonso lofts a good ball in to the area, but Cisse doesn't seem inclined to go for the header. He hasn't got in to the match as yet.
Pirlo attempts a very ambitious shot from around 35 yards out; it flies well over the bar.
Liverpool kick off the first period of extra-time. I've no idea who's going to emerge on top.
FULL-TIME: We will have half-hour of extra-time after Liverpool produced a stunning comeback to get themselves in to the match.
Cafu heads a dangerous centre across the six-yard box, but Hyypia clears.
There will be two added minutes of injury time. Garcia almost wriggles free and latches on to Cisse's flicked header.
Both sides seem content to settle for extra-time. They are knocking the ball about with any real urgency.
A last-ditch Carragher tackle prevents Shevchenko getting free and firing a shot on goal. Corner. Stam wins the header and Kaka flicks on, but the ball flies narrowly wide of the far post.
Liverpool break after a good challenge by Gerrard, though Garcia's flick towards his captain on the edge of the area is well read by Stam.
Serginho is playing on the left wing, while Tomasson has taken his position up front with Shevchenko.
SUB: Tomasson on, Crespo off; Seedorf off, Serginho on. Ancelotti attempts to spice up his Milan side by bringing on fresh legs.
SUB: Baros off, Cisse on. Baros hasn't completed a full game for quite some time now. Cisse will bring more pace and enthusiasm up front for the Reds.
Every Liverpool pass is being cheered by their fans, who are by far the most vocal as the game approaches ninety minutes.
Liverpool manage to keep possession for a minute or so, something they failed to do during the first half. That's been the area that has most improved in this remarkable comeback: ball retention.
Shevchenko attempts a very ambitious volley from the edge of the box, but he scuffs it horribly. Cisse prepares to come on for Liverpool.
Oooh! Crespo finds some space inside the penalty area. He tries to cut the ball back to Kaka, but Carragher is quick to dive in and block the close-range shot.
Oooh! Garcia steals in around the back of the Milan defence, but his control lets him down at the crucial moment.
Baros, meanwhile, is working very hard on his own up front for Liverpool. He is being supported by Gerrard and Garcia, but most of the time he is up against two or three Milan defenders.
Milan are still looking dangerous up front; a Seedorf ball towards Crespo is slightly mis-directed and Dudek collects.
Carragher is booked for a high challenge as he attempted to contest a bouncing ball. He might have got away with the challenge in the Premiership, but it was the sort of tackle that European referees always punish.
Garcia does well to skip past a couple of Milan challenges as he breaks in to their half, though he hits his cross too early and too deep and Dida collects under no pressure.
Smicer fires a left-foot shot well over the bar from 30 yards. He should have chosen the simple pass to Riise, who was unmarked on the left wing.
Garcia is harshly adjudged to have fouled Seedorf as the two contested a loose ball inside the Milan penalty area. A pity for Liverpool, as they had men well-placed for the cut-back.
Will we be heading for the drama of extra-time, and possibly even penalties? We'll be here whatever - stick with us as it all unfolds...
Gerrard latches on to Stam's half-clearance, though his long-range shot is fired well over Dida's crossbar.
Oooh! Traore is suddenly the hero as he clears off the line after Dudek had spilled a cross in to the path of Shevchenko.
Traore fouls Cafu as the Milan defender sprints forward from the back once more.
"You'll never walk alone" rings out from the Liverpool end. They were so quiet at the end of the first half, but are really lifting their side now.
The pace has settled down again now that Milan have recovered themselves a little. Liverpool seem content to get their breath back, too.
Baros fouls Pirlo inside the centre circle. Milan opt to build slowly as they bid to regain some momentum.
Milan have managed to regain some composure after being bombarded for the last ten minutes. Liverpool shouldn't think that the job is complete; Milan are still a massive threat.
What did Benitez say to his players at half-time?
Oooh! Riise smashes a great left-foot shot on goal, but Dida palms away before collecting the rebound.
Oooh! Seedorf cracks a low right-foot shot a few yards wide of Dudek's post after he collected a half-cleared free-kick on the edge of the Liverpool box.
This is quite astounding. Liverpool have produced one of the most remarkable turnarounds in European football. The Liverpool fans are bouncing off the ceiling.
GOAL! Alonso goes low, but Dida pulls off an amazing save to his right. But Alonso is quick to dart forward and fire the rebound high in to the roof of the net!
PENALTY! A wonderful Liverpool move sees Baros flick the ball in to the path of Gerrard, who was breaking at pace in to the Milan area. Gattuso catches the Liverpool skipper's heels and the referee gives the spot-kick!
Liverpool are dominant now, and are playing with real belief that they can get another and get back on level terms. Ancelotti chews gum furiously on the sidelines.
There will be some nerves in the Milan side now. The Liverpool fans have really raised the volume; they can sense one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history...
GOAL! Incredible stuff from Liverpool. Hamann finds Smicer 30 yards out. The Czech takes a touch before slamming a low shot in to the far corner.
Liverpool are playing much better now. They know they have nothing to lose and are throwing players forward with gay abandon.
Just what Liverpool needed. It was one of only a handful of occasions that the Liverpool captain had got forward in to the penalty area, and it worked out for the Reds.
GOAL! A lifeline for Liverpool. Riise lofts a nice cross in to the penalty area, and Gerrard rises high to power a stunning header in to the far corner.
Oooh! The free-kick is taken short to Shevchenko, who cracks a powerful shot towards the far post, though Dudek does well to palm away for a corner.
An awful mistake by Traore gifts possession to Milan. Kaka runs at Hyypia and is brought down on the edge of the penalty area. Free-kick...
Oooh! Alonso cracks a wonderful, 35-yard effort just inches wide of Dida's far post. The Milan goalkeeper was at full-stretch, but probably had the shot covered.
Liverpool defend the set-piece well, but it's Milan who have begun this second half better overall.
Milan show some superb close control on the touchline in the Liverpool half. The ball is eventually worked to Cafu, who smashes a shot goalwards. It's deflected wide for a corner.
Gerrard breaks but Garcia's pass towards him is loose and Milan can clear. Liverpool haven't used the ball well tonight.
Milan kick off. Finnan was taken off because of an injury, I'm told.
SUB: Hamann on, Finnan off. It seems Liverpool are going to go three at the back and throw all they can at Milan. They need an early goal.
The players are back on the field. Liverpool have to keep believing, or this could be a very long second-half.
HALF-TIME: Surely that's game over. Liverpool have been destroyed in the first 45 minutes, offering nothing going forward and being ripped apart at the back.
The Liverpool fans look stunned; they knew it was a tough task to beat this excellent Milan side, but I don't think they expected to get torn apart.
Liverpool have been completely outplayed in this first-half. Milan's front three have been breathtaking; Crespo and Shevchenko have made some fantastic runs, and Kaka has consistently found them.
GOAL! A superb Milan goal - and surely the end of Liverpool's dreams. A great piece of skill and vision from Kaka on the half-way line releases Crespo, who stabs the ball over Dudek and in to the empty net.
Looking at the replays of Milan's second goal, Traore was caught horribly out of position, much too far in-field.
Baros is adjudged to have handballed inside the Milan area as he jumped for the ball with Stam. A harsh call from the referee.
Cafu makes one of his trademark sprints down the right wing and wins a throw in for Milan in the corner. Incredible stamina and speed from the veteran Brazilian, who has never won the Champions League before.
That was the last thing Liverpool needed. I know it's stating the obvious, but the English side have a massive task on their hands now; it's hard to see them scoring twice against this defence.
GOAL! Shevchenko makes another superb run in to space in the right channel. He moves in on goal, slides a low pass in to Crespo, who taps home from six yards.
Liverpool have a penalty claim turned down as Maldini slides in on Garcia and the ball hits some part of his upper body as he lies on the ground.
Oooh! Crespo is ruled off-side as he is found inside the area by Kaka. Dudek made the save as the on-loan Chelsea man proded goalwards, but the threat was there again...
Smicer seems to have moved out to the right wing, and Garcia has been asked to play in just behind Baros.
Oooh! Gerrard arrows a ball in to the area, where Riise nods down to Baros. The striker lays the ball back to Garcia, but the Spaniard slices his shot horribly.
Pirlo, Seedorf and Gattuso have been finding Shevchenko with some excellent passes from midfield. Crespo has been virtually anonymous, but Shevchenko is proving a handful already.
Baros is upset when the referee rules that he was backing in to Nesta just outside the Milan penalty area. The Liverpool striker thought HE was the one being fouled, not the other way around.
Garcia slams a shot high and wide as he pounced on a loose ball 25 yards out. It was very ambitious, though he has scored some wonderful goals for Liverpool this season.
Oooh! Nesta lofts a good ball through the middle to Shevchenko, but he can't quite flick the ball past Dudek as Traore makes the challenge inside the area.
Liverpool can't afford to concede again before half-time. If Benitez can get his men in just a goal down, he could re-organise and give them a chance in the second half.
...but the linesman rules that the Milan striker had drifted a foot or so off-side. Liverpool breathe a sigh of relief.
...Shevchenko is found on the left-edge of the box and he slides a side-foot shot past Dudek and in to the corner...
Garcia loses the ball on the edge of the Milan area when he attempts an ambitious flick. The Italians break at startling pace...
Finnan and Riise are offering Liverpool good width, but their crosses are being easily cut out by the experienced Milan defence. They need Gerrard and Alonso in the game more.
Liverpool will have to stay patient. If they press to much, too quickly, Milan will tear them apart on the break.
Liverpool have come in to the game a little more in the last ten minutes, but they haven't looked like threatening Dida. Milan have been really well organised at the back.
Smicer has slotted in to a position just behind Baros. The two Czech players should know each other's game very well.
SUB: Kewell off, Smicer on. So, the gamble to play the Australian didn't pay off for Benitez. Smicer hasn't featured too often this year, so it will be interesting to see whether he can pick up the pace of the game.
Liverpool's gameplan seems to be to throw plenty crosses in to the Milan penalty area. The trouble is they haven't got the numbers or the height to cause any concern to Stam and Nesta.
Kewell has signalled to the bench that he needs to come off. Cisse and Smicer begin to warm up for the Reds.
Kewell doesn't look very comfortable at all. His face is one of sadness and frustration as he hobbles around the half-way line. Benitez looks furious on the sidelines.
Maldini arrows another lovely ball over the top of the Liverpool defence, but Shevchenko can't quite bring the pass under control inside the penalty area.
Worringly for Liverpool, Kewell is holding the inside of his thigh, and isn't moving particularly freely.
Riise curls a nice ball in to the box, but Kewell can't quite jump high enough to get a good header in on goal. Liverpool are still feeling their way in to this match.
A Liverpool attack breaks down when Gattuso defends well against Riise on Liverpool's left wing and the ball runs out of play.
Liverpool simply can't get their influential midfielders, Gerrard and Alonso in particular, on the ball at the moment.
Oooh! Garcia clears off the line after a Milan corner is met with a near-post header from Kaka. Liverpool eventually scramble the ball clear.
Seedorf lofts a great ball over the top of Carragher and Hyypia. Shevchenko sprints between the two Liverpool centre-backs, but the referee deems he brings the ball down with his hand inside the area.
Seedorf lofts a ball in towards Crespo, who had pulled away on the far side of the area. Traore does well to pick the flight of the cross and clears the danger.
Milan are having much more of the ball in the early stages, though Liverpool almost manage to work a shooting chance when Baros shows good close control on the edge of the area.
Kewell is pulled back by Pirlo, who is perhaps lucky not to get booked for the challenge. The Liverpool free-kick comes to nothing.
Gerrard snaps in midfield and slides a ball through to Baros, but Stam is quick and strong as he robs the Czech striker just inside the Milan half.
The Liverpool fans have been stunned by Milan's early goal; they are only heard as they whistle when the Italian side have possession.
Liverpool win a free-kick in a dangerous position. Instead of shooting, Gerrard lofts the ball in to the middle, but it's too long for Kewell. Goal kick.
Pirlo lofts the corner in to the middle. Hyypia almost makes a hash of the clearance, but Dudek eventually collects the ball on his line.
Shevchenko springs the Liverpool off-side trap, but his control lets him down as he tries to cut in to the area from the right channel. Hyypia dives in to put the ball out for a corner.
Cafu is lucky not to give away a free-kick on the Milan right. Milan attack, but Seedorf can't quite collect Kaka's pass.
It's been a frantic start to the match, and quite open. Benitez doesn't look too concerned in the Liverpool dug-out. I presume he noticed that Milan scored?
Good work from Baros wins Liverpool the first corner of the match. Gerrard clips the set-piece to Riise on the edge of the area, but his well-hit shot is blocked on the six yard box.
Traore gives away his second free-kick in the first three minutes, though this time it's in Milan's half.
Kewell wins a free-kick deep in the Milan half. Liverpool look a little shell-shocked. What a blow for the English side.
What an incredible start for the Italians. Maldini becomes the oldest-ever scorer in the Champions League final. He did wonderfully well to steer the shot through a crowd.
GOAL! Pirlo whips the free-kick in to the centre, and Maldini volleys past Dudek from 12 yards.
Kaka wins a very early free-kick for Milan when he is brought down by Traore...
We're off. Deafening roar from the fans.
Kewell looks very pleased with himself. Baros seemed on the verge of tears. Gerrard narrows his eyes and grits his teeth.
A very pleasant song plays inside the stadium as the players walk out on to the pitch and line up. Then, the Champions League anthem belts out over the loudspeakers.
All the fans seem to have made it to the stadium in time. There is a tremendous atmosphere, as you'd expect.
The players are walking out of the tunnel. Benitez and Ancelotti shake hands and have a little chat, probably about the game.
Milan's team is as predicted, with Hernan Crespo up front alongside Shevchenko.
Apparently, many fans are having great trouble actually getting to the stadium, which is situated some way out of Istanbul city centre.
Some early team news: Kewell and Baros start, with Hamann and Cisse the disappointed duo.
Join us for live commentary of the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final between AC Milan and Liverpool. All the action from the game of the season, kick-off 19.45 UK time; Do not miss this one!!
Manuel Rui Costa
Jon Dahl Tomasson
Manuel Rui Costa
Jon Dahl Tomasson
John Arne Riise