Football

Top five: Champions League finals of the 21st Century

Drogba scored the winning penalty in 2012 (©GettyImages)
Drogba scored the winning penalty in 2012 (©GettyImages).

Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund last weekend - but it was a Champions League final that might not live long in the memory.

Here is a look at the five most memorable finals of the 21st Century.

2002: Bayer Leverkusen v Real Madrid

This final is not memorable for the game itself, but because it was won by possibly the greatest Champions League goal of all time.

The two sides were level at 1-1, when Zinedine Zidane latched on to a Roberto Carlos cross on the edge of the box, smashing the ball into the top corner with an exquisite volley.

It proved to be the winning goal, as Real Madrid clichéd their ninth European title.

2005: Liverpool v AC Milan

This game remains one of the greatest football comebacks of all time.

Liverpool were 3-0 down before half-time thanks to goals from Paolo Maldini and a Hernan Crespo brace, seemingly ending the Reds' chances of Champions League glory.

However, goals from Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and finally Xabi Alonso brought them back from the dead and took it to extra time. Milan went onto miss three of their penalties in the shoot-out - thanks to the heroics of Jerzy Dudek - and Liverpool were crowned European champions.

2006: Barcelona v Arsenal

Following the red card of Jens Lehmann in the 18th-minute, Arsenal had been outclassed for the majority of this final.

However, they held onto a lead given to them through Sol Campbell in the 37th minute, and were getting closer to their first Champions League triumph. However two goals in eight minutes, from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Balletti, turned the game on its head and Arsenal’s hearts were broken.

The game signalled the start of Barcelona’s dominance of the Champions League

2008: Chelsea v Manchester United

The all-English affair between Chelsea and Manchester United is remembered for the infamous penalty miss from John Terry.

Following goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Frank Lampard, the two teams could not be separated and had to be decided through a penalty shootout. If John Terry had scored his penalty, Chelsea would have been crowned champions.

However, he slipped and his shot hit the post, before Van Der Sar saved Nicholas Anelka’s effort to snatch the dramatic victory.

2012: Bayern Munich v Chelsea

This final went down to the wire and was won by the heroics of Didier Drogba, in the Ivorian’s last game for the Blues.

He scored Chelsea’s equaliser minutes before the end, to cancel out Thomas Muller’s late opener, before scoring the decisive spot-kick to secure the victory.

Bayern had been on top for the majority of the game but had victory snatched from their grasp on their home turf.

 

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Football

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