Saturday, May 28, 2016

28 May 2003 - The Lesson Is Whoever Has Seedorf Wins

On 28 May 2003, Juventus and AC Milan needed a penalty shootout to decide the first all-Italian Champions League Final.

Played before a crowd of 63,215 at Old Trafford in Manchester, the Final was only the second one in tournament history to pair teams from the same league--Real Madrid defeated Valencia in 2000. The Serie A race had officially ended four days prior with Juventus at the top of the table. Although they finished 11 points clear of third-place Milan, the two teams had split their two league meetings, with each team winning at home, 2-1.

The Final was even closer. The only real chance came from Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko, whose early goal was ruled out because his teammate Rui Costa had blocked the view of Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon from an offside position. They completed the first 120 minutes of play deadlocked at 0-0.

The shootout took place in front of the Juventus section. After four kicks each, Milan were up 1-2, with both Buffon and Milan keeper Dida making critical saves. Juventus forward and captain Alessandro Del Piero converted his team's last kick to level the score, putting the pressure on Milan's last kicker, Shevchenko. But the Ukrainian confidently stroked the ball past Buffon for the win, 0-0 (2-3).

Coincidentally, it was the third Champions League trophy for Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf, who had won it in 1995 with Ajax (against Milan) and in 1998 with Real Madrid (against Juventus).

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