Liverpool: Champions League final penalty save from Jerzy Dudek in 2005 is still remarkable

Dudek saves from Pirlo

It’s been exactly 17 years since Liverpool won the Champions League thanks to an incredible comeback from AC Milan.

In Istanbul, Rafa Benitez’s side went into the 2005 final as underdogs against Carlo Ancelotti’s AC Milan.

And they couldn’t have got off to a worse start as Paolo Maldini put the Italians ahead inside the first 60 seconds.

They were completely outplayed in the first half and after two Hernan Crespo goals just before half time, the final appeared over.

Restoring some pride appeared to be Liverpool’s only task in the second half.

But pride soon turned to hope as Steven Gerrard pulled a goal back 10 minutes after the break.

Vladimir Smicer smashed one in from 25 yards just three minutes later before Gerrard was hauled down for a penalty inside the AC Milan box. Xabi Alonso saw his effort saved by Dida before he slammed the rebound into the roof of the net. Within five minutes, Liverpool had gone from 3-0 down to 3-3 and were back in the final.

UEFA Champions League Final - AC Milan v Liverpool

In truth, Liverpool held on for the remaining 30 minutes of the second half and were happy to settle for penalties throughout extra time. And through a combination of desperate defending and a wonder double-save from Andriy Shevchenko by Jerzy Dudek, Liverpool forced the penalty shootout.

Before the shootout, Jamie Carragher could be seen passionately speaking to Dudek telling him to wave his hands around and do just about anything to put the AC Milan players off. We’re not sure whether the Polish goalkeeper understood a word Carragher was screaming at him but he was about to become a Liverpool hero.

Serginho blazed over the opening penalty – although Dudek will attempt to take credit for all the dancing around on the line he did.

After Didi Hamann put Liverpool ahead in the shootout, it was the turn of Andrea Pirlo – one of the greatest set-piece takers football has ever seen.

What happened next is still remarkable 17 years later.

Dudek saved Pirlo’s penalty but replays showed the goalkeeper was pretty much on the six-yard box when he made the save. It really is incredible how the penalty wasn’t retaken.

VIDEO: Jerzy Dudek’s save on Andrea Pirlo’s penalty

Even now, fans can’t quite believe it.

Dudek penalty save during Liverpool vs AC Milan
Dudek penalty save during Liverpool vs AC Milan
Dudek penalty save during Liverpool vs AC Milan
Dudek penalty save during Liverpool vs AC Milan
Dudek penalty save during Liverpool vs AC Milan

After missing their first two spot-kicks, it was a long way back for Milan. And Dudek clinched the Champions League for Liverpool when he saved Shevchenko’s poor attempt.

Liverpool were champions of Europe for the fifth time and Dudek was the hero.

But the way in which he saved that Pirlo penalty really is remarkable…

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