Manchester United win Champions League(Lead)

May 22nd, 2008 - 6:01 am ICT by admin  

Moscow, May 22 (DPA) Edwin van der Sar was the hero as Manchester United beat Chelsea 6-5 on penalties in Moscow Wednesday to win the Champions League for the third time in their history, completing an English League and European double. The match finished 1-1 after extra time and John Terry missed a penalty in the shootout that would have given Chelsea the title, while Van der Sar then saved from Nicolas Anelka to give Sir Alex Ferguson’s side their third win, after their 1968 and 1999 triumphs.

After two successful penalties apiece, Chelsea had the upper hand when Ronaldo’s shot was well saved by Petr Cech, but Terry slipped as he took his penalty and watched as it hit the post. Anderson and Giggs then kept United in front, but Anelka’s penalty was well saved by United’s Dutch goalkeeper.

“We do it the hard way,” a beaming United manager Ferguson said. “It’s the first penalty shootout in a big game I have ever won.

“I think we deserved to win it, we were fantastic in the first half, we should have been 3-0 up and then they got a lucky goal. They were the better side in the second half. It’s an amazing achievement.”

Ronaldo was hugely relieved after he thought he had cost United the trophy.

“I don’t know what to say,” the Portugal striker said. “I thought we were going to lose after I missed. I felt it was the worst day of my life but I feel very proud - now it’s the best day of my life.”

Sir Bobby Charlton, who won the trophy in 1968 and who was a survivor of the Munich air disaster in 1958 which cost the lives of 23 people, went up ahead of the United players as they collected their winners’ medals.

And Ryan Giggs, who broke Charlton’s record of 758 appearances for United when he came on as a second-half substitute, joined Rio Ferdinand to lift the trophy.

United dominated the first half in terms of possession but neither side even had a shot before Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring on 26 minutes.

A great counter-attack from United almost brought a second goal eight minutes later, Wayne Rooney spreading a long ball to Ronaldo, who took the ball down and crossed to Carlos Tevez, but his diving header was well-saved by Cech, who then got up to make another excellent stop from Carrick.

Tevez had another chance to double United’s lead when he got his studs to a great cross from Rooney but after Ferdinand was booked for a check on Lampard, Chelsea levelled completely against the run of play.

A long shot from Michael Essien was going nowhere before it deflected off a defender and on to Ferdinand’s back, falling perfectly for Lampard, who flicked the ball over Van der Sar.

In the pouring rain, Chelsea were then the better side in the second half, with Didier Drogba going closest to the winner as his shot rebounded off the post.

Essien and Ballack both fired over from good positions, while Vidic produced a superb clearing to deny another chance.

United brought on Giggs for Paul Scholes late on, but the match went to extra time and Chelsea almost took the lead when Lampard was desperately unlucky to see his left-foot strike hit the crossbar.

Drogba was sent off in the second period for a slap on Nemanja Vidic but Chelsea hung on to force penalties.

Tevez, Ballack, Carrick and Juliano Belletti - with his first touch - all scored from the spot to make it 2-2, but Ronaldo then saw his spot-kick saved by Cech to his right.

Lampard, Owen Hargreaves, Ashley Cole and Nani scored to leave Chelsea captain John Terry to win it for Chelsea but his left foot slipped as he took the kick and his shot squirmed onto the post.

Lampard said that none of his teammates would ever criticize Terry. “There are not many centre-halves who will take such an important penalty.

“We are very disappointed, but we will come back. I thought we deserved the victory, but not to take anything away from Manchester United, they were the better side in the first half.”

Anderson and Salomon Kalou scored before Giggs sent Cech the wrong way and then Van der Sar made himself a United hero by saving superbly from Chelsea substitute Anelka.

“I can enjoy it a little bit more,” Giggs said, comparing it to United’s win in 1999. “Tonight, it’s brilliant. We deserved it - we played really well in the first half and I think we were the better side.”

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