May 25, 2005 is a date that Liverpool fans will never forget.
The Miracle of Istanbul is one of the most iconic football matches in the history of the sport, a game that had absolutely everything packed in 120 minutes and then more for penalties.
AC Milan supporters were left to wonder what on earth had happened after watching their side relinquish a 3-0 lead to lose the Champions League final.
Steven Gerrard was responsible for inspiring Liverpool’s comeback, scoring in the 54th minute to make it 3-1.
Two minutes later, Vladimir Smicer put Rafa Benitez’s side within a goal of their Italian opponents and the comeback was complete on the hour mark, with Xabi Alonso scoring from the rebound after his penalty, which Gerrard won, was saved.
So six minutes was all it took for Liverpool to level the tie. There was still the matter extra-time to endure, where Jerzy Dudek stepped up with a brilliant double-save to deny Andriy Shevchenko in the 117th minute.
And so penalties were required to settle the final.
The Reds seized an early advantage after Serginho shot over the crossbar and Dudek saved Andrea Pirlo’s attempt.
When Shevchenko stepped up to take Milan’s fifth penalty, he had to score to keep Carlo Ancelotti’s side in it. But Dudek managed to keep the Ukrainian’s poor effort out with his left hand to seal the greatest comeback in Champions League history.
And then the celebrations ensued.
“It’s the one moment in my career I’d love to go back to,” Jamie Carragher said in an interview with the Mirror. “That moment of realisation, and then release.
“I ran towards Jerzy and was the first one there. But there was no way I could stop and hug someone. I needed to keep running, jumping, shouting, screaming.
“I couldn’t have bottled that up. It was just an energy rush that had to come out. I carried on around the track, couldn’t have stood still with the players, had to get involved in the crowd.”
It’s a night that will take some topping in the list of great European affairs.
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