Manchester United 1-1* Chelsea (2007-08 UEFA Champions League Final)
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|2008 UEFA Champions League Final|
|Scoreline|| Manchester United 1-1* Chelsea|
*Chelsea lost 6-5 on penalties
|Date||21st May 2008|
|Competition||UEFA Champions League|
|Referee||Ľuboš Micheľ (Slovakia)|
The 2008 UEFA Champions League Final took place on 21 May 2008 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, contested by Chelsea and Manchester United. It was the Blues' third appearance in a European final, and first in a UEFA Champions League or European Cup final, and was the first time that the final of the competition had been contested between two English sides. Manchester United won a penalty shootout after the match finished 1-1 following extra time.
Manchester United went into the Champions League final as champions of England for the 17th time and undefeated in the 2007-08 Champions League. Chelsea came second in the league, finishing with two fewer points than United, and had lost just one Champions League game, the quarter-final first leg away to Fenerbahçe. In the Premier League games between the two sides in the 2007-08 season, United won 2-0 at Old Trafford in Avram Grant's first game in charge of Chelsea on 23 September 2007, while Chelsea won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in the return game on 26 April 2008. Chelsea also won the last cup game between the two – a 1-0 extra time win in the FA Cup Final in May 2007.
- First half
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring after a fairly cagey 26 minutes. An interchange of passes between Paul Scholes and Wes Brown after a throw-in on the right flank gave Brown time to pick out a cross for Ronaldo, who directed his header past Petr Čech after rising above Michael Essien, who was playing at right back. Chelsea almost equalised in the 33rd minute when Frank Lampard's cross was headed back into the six-yard box by Didier Drogba. United's Rio Ferdinand, under pressure from Michael Ballack, was forced to head the ball towards his own goal and Edwin van der Sar pulled off a save to deny Chelsea a goal. United subsequently pressed for a second goal, and had two good opportunities to extend their lead, but were denied by a double-save from Čech. Wayne Rooney delivered a long ball into the path of Ronaldo and the United goalscorer placed his cross on the head of the diving Tévez, only for Čech to deny him. Chelsea's failure to clear the loose ball gave Michael Carrick the chance to extend their lead but again Čech was equal to the task with yet another save.
Chelsea survived the pressure and equalised in the dying minutes of the first half. The goal followed from a long range shot by Michael Essien, being deflected first off Nemanja Vidić and then Rio Ferdinand. The ball's change in direction caused Edwin van der Sar to lose his footing, leaving Lampard, who had made the run from deep, with a simple finish. At the end of the first half Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confronted match referee Ľuboš Micheľ.
- Second half
Lampard's equaliser at the end of the first half galvanised Chelsea, who dominated the second half. Chelsea kept United on the back foot for long periods, and had opportunities to take the lead, with Essien breaking free of United's defence in the 54th minute, only to blast his shot too high. Michael Ballack also sent a long shot just off target. Chelsea's closest opportunity to take the lead came in the 77th minute when a Didier Drogba shot struck the post from 20 yards out. Drogba came very close to turning Joe Cole's low cross home for the winner four minutes from time, but fired wide. Ryan Giggs was then introduced in place of Scholes, making a record 759th appearance for Manchester United. Giggs was presented with a chance to win the game but opted to shoot with his right foot which allowed John Terry to make a game saving clearance.
- Extra time
The game moved into extra time, and the thrilling pace was maintained throughout. Both teams had chances to score a vital second goal, with a Lampard left-footer hitting the underside of the crossbar and Ryan Giggs having a shot headed off the line by Terry. Following a fracas involving most of the 22 players and the match officials, Didier Drogba received a red card for a slap on Nemanja Vidić, becoming only the second player in history to be sent off in a European Cup Final – the first being Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann in 2006. With no winning goal forthcoming, the match went to a penalty shoot-out.
- Penalty shootout
Rio Ferdinand won the toss of the coin, and opted for United to go first in the shootout. Carlos Tévez stepped up first and sent Čech the wrong way. Ballack was next up, shooting powerfully past Van der Sar. Carrick buried his spot-kick, as did Juliano Belletti with his first touch of the game, having been subsituted late on due to his reliability from the spot. The first miss of the shootout came from Cristiano Ronaldo, who characteristically stuttered in his run-up in order to put Čech off, but the goalkeeper dived to his right to save. Lampard then put Chelsea 3–2 ahead. Owen Hargreaves levelled things up with a shot into the top corner. Ashley Cole was the next up, and Van der Sar got a strong hand to the ball but couldn't keep the ball out. Nani kept United in it, but John Terry had the chance to win the cup for Chelsea. However, in extremely wet conditions and with rain beating down, Terry lost his footing when planting his standing foot by the ball, and, even though Edwin van der Sar was sent the wrong way, Terry's mis-hit effort clipped the outside of the right post and went wide.
Anderson scored the first penalty in sudden death. Salomon Kalou then sent Van der Sar the wrong way to make it 5-5. Giggs was next up and he was also successful. Van der Sar then pulled off the crucial save by keeping out Nicolas Anelka's effort; denying Chelsea a first UEFA Champions League title.
| 21 May 2008|
|Manchester United||1 - 1*||Chelsea|| Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow|
Referee: Ľuboš Micheľ (Slovakia)
|Ronaldo 26'||Lampard 45'|
|6 - 5|| Ballack|
Road to the Final
- See also: 2007-08 UEFA Champions League
|2007-08||Wed||24||Oct||2007||Group B||Schalke 04||Home||Won||2-0|
|2007-08||Tue||6||Nov||2007||Group B||Schalke 04||Away||Drew||0-0|
|2007-08||Tue||19||Feb||2008||1st Knock Out Round 1st Leg||Olympiacos||Away||Drew||0-0|
|2007-08||Wed||5||Mar||2008||1st Knock Out Round 2nd Leg||Olympiacos||Home||Won||3-0||(3-0 aggregate)|
|2007-08||Wed||2||Apr||2008||Quarter Final 1st Leg||Fenerbahçe||Away||Lost||1-2|
|2007-08||Tue||8||Apr||2008||Quarter Final 2nd Leg||Fenerbahçe||Home||Won||2-0||(3-2 aggregate)|
|2007-08||Tue||22||Apr||2008||Semi Final 1st Leg||Liverpool||Away||Drew||1-1|
|2007-08||Wed||30||Apr||2008||Semi Final 2nd Leg||Liverpool||Home||Won||3-2||(4-3 aggregate)|
|Chelsea in Europe|
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