2007 UEFA Champions League Final: Wikis

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2007 UEFA Champions League Final
Champat2007.jpg
Event 2006–07 UEFA Champions League
Date 23 May 2007
Venue Olympic Stadium, Athens
Man of the Match Filippo Inzaghi (Milan)
Referee Herbert Fandel (Germany)
Attendance 74,000
2006
2008

The 2007 UEFA Champions League Final was a football match played at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece on 23 May 2007, to decide the winner of the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League. Italian club A.C. Milan faced England's Liverpool; the same two teams that had contested the 2005 final. Milan won the match 2–1, after two goals by Filippo Inzaghi.

Before 2007, Milan's last triumph had been in the 2003 final, while Liverpool's was against Milan in the 2005 final. Liverpool and Milan started their UEFA Champions League campaigns in the Third Qualifying round; both sides progressed to the group stages and won their respective groups. Liverpool and Milan beat former champions on their way to the final. Milan beat 1967 champions Celtic, four-time champions Bayern Munich, and 1968 and 1999 winners Manchester United. Liverpool beat defending champions Barcelona and 1988 winners PSV Eindhoven. Liverpool also beat Chelsea in the semi-final stage for the second time in three years.

Before the match there were ticketing problems because a large number of fans gained entry to the stadium without valid tickets. After the match, a UEFA spokesman accused Liverpool of having the worst fans in Europe, a claim later denied by UEFA president Michel Platini.

Contents

Route to the final

Teams qualified for the Champions League group stage, either directly or through three preliminary rounds, based on both their position in the preceding domestic league season and the relative strength of that league based on its UEFA coefficient.[1][2] Both Liverpool and Milan entered the competition in the third and final preliminary round: Liverpool by finishing third in the FA Premier League 2005–06, Milan by finishing third in Serie A 2005–06.[3] Milan had originally finished second in Serie A, but were deducted 30 points for their part in a match-fixing scandal.[3][4] The original punishment, reduced on appeal, would have barred them from the Champions League altogether.[4] The group stages were contested as eight double round robin groups of four teams, the top two qualifying for the knockout stages.[5] Knockout ties were decided based on home and away matches, with the away goals rule, extra time and penalty shootouts as tiebreakers if needed.[6]

Milan Round Liverpool
Opponent Result Legs Qualifying phase Opponent Result Legs
Serbia Red Star Belgrade 3–1 1–0 home; 2–1 away Third qualifying round[7] Israel Maccabi Haifa 3–2 2–1 home; 1–1 away
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Italy Milan 6 3 1 2 8 4 +4 10
France Lille 6 2 3 1 8 5 +3 9
Greece AEK Athens 6 2 2 2 6 9 −3 8
Belgium Anderlecht 6 0 4 2 7 11 −4 4
Group stage[8][9]
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
England Liverpool 6 4 1 1 11 5 +6 13
Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 6 3 1 2 6 6 0 10
France Bordeaux 6 2 1 3 6 7 −1 7
Turkey Galatasaray 6 1 1 4 7 12 −5 4
Opponent Result Legs Knockout stage Opponent Result Legs
Scotland Celtic 1–0 0–0 away; 1–0 (aet) home First knockout round[10] Spain Barcelona 2–2 (a) 2–1 away; 0–1 home
Germany Bayern Munich 4–2 2–2 home; 2–0 away Quarter-finals[11] Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 4–0 3–0 away; 1–0 home
England Manchester United 5–3 2–3 away; 3–0 home Semi-finals[12] England Chelsea 1–1 (4–1 p) 0–1 away; 1–0 home

Problems before the match

Out of 63,800 tickets, only 9,000 tickets for the final went on general sale; the remainder were shared between the two teams, who got 17,000 each, and the UEFA family and sponsors, who received 20,800 tickets.[13][14] This led to some of the problems before the match.[15] While fans were still queuing to gain entry to the stadium, the Greek police informed them that the stadium was full and denied entry to a number of fans who had genuine tickets.[16] UEFA sources said that as many as 5,000 fans either without tickets or brandishing fakes had entered the 74,000-capacity Olympic Stadium. Simultaneously, thousands of fans with genuine tickets were refused entry as police closed the entrance to the ground amid fears that allowing any more to enter could have led to a disaster.[17] The resulting situation became disorderly, with some Liverpool fans attempting to break through checkpoints, set up by the Greek police. Greek riot police used tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd.[16] UEFA spokesman William Gaillard blamed Liverpool fans for causing the problems, stating, "Milan supporters didn't face the same problems because they didn't behave in the same way".[18] A UEFA report released soon after the final branded Liverpool supporters "the worst fans in Europe", with Gaillard stating: "What other set of fans steal tickets from their fellow supporters or out of the hands of children?"[19] However, UEFA President Michel Platini later denied that Liverpool fans were the worst behaved in Europe.[20] UEFA was itself criticised for poor ticket-checking procedures and for implementing insufficient measures to deal with the large number of fans. Simon Gass, the British ambassador to Greece, said, "Clearly there was some element of breakdown where those fake tickets appeared to be legitimate - that's something UEFA must look at."[21] Meanwhile, Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks described UEFA's allocation of 17,000 tickets to each team, knowing that Liverpool would be bringing 40,000 supporters, as "insane" and accused Gaillard of blaming Liverpool fans in order to cover up for his own mistakes.[15] UEFA was further criticised by Milan and Liverpool for their lack of provision for the clubs' disabled fans, providing the clubs with only sixteen disabled tickets each.[22]

Match ball

Adidas, the official match ball supplier to all major UEFA, FIFA and IOC tournaments, unveiled the official match ball for the 2007 UEFA Champions League final on 9 March 2007 presenting the Adidas Finale Athens. The design of the Adidas Finale Athens was based on the widely recognisable UEFA Champions League Starball logo and was blue and white, representing the colours of the Greek national flag.[23]

Match summary

Opening ceremony from Gate 31

The final matched two of the top goal-scorers in the competition that season. Milan's Kaká finished on top of the scoring charts with ten goals, and Liverpool's Peter Crouch entered the game tied for third with six goals in total.[24]

Milan chose to wear their all-white strip for the final, despite being drawn as the "home" team for the match. They considered the kit to be lucky (Italian: maglia fortunata), having won the European Cup five times in this kit. However, Milan had lost finals wearing this kit twice, most recently against Liverpool in 2005.[25] This decision by Milan meant that Liverpool played the final in their traditional home kit of red shirts, red shorts and red socks. Each of Liverpool's five European Cup titles were won in their all-red strip, and two of these came when they were playing against Italian teams who played in all-white.[26]

Milan fielded the oldest starting eleven ever in a Champions League final, with the average age at 31 years, 34 days, while Paolo Maldini was the oldest outfield player ever in a final at 38 years and 331 days.[27] Liverpool fielded five of the players that started the 2005 final, those players were; Xabi Alonso, Jamie Carragher, Steve Finnan, Steven Gerrard and John Arne Riise.[28]

The British bookmaker Ladbrokes offered odds on a repeat of the 2005 Champions League Final, 3–0 to Milan at half-time, 3–3 at the end of normal time and Liverpool to win on penalties, of 2007-1.[29]

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First half

The Olympic Stadium in Athens, venue of the Final

The first half started off scrappily, as a number of fouls were given away in the early minutes. The first meaningful effort on goal came in the ninth minute when Jermaine Pennant dispossessed Marek Jankulovski, putting himself through on goal, but his scuffed shot was saved by Dida. Milan fought back with Pirlo coming close to putting Inzaghi through on goal, Pepe Reina saved a Kaká shot on 17 minutes. In the following minutes both John Arne Riise and Xabi Alonso missed the target with shots from distance, while Massimo Oddo and Marek Jankulovski were causing problems down the flanks. In the 35th minute, Pennant once again broke away down the right after stealing the ball off Paolo Maldini, and put in a good ball for Kuyt, whose shot was blocked. Unlike the previous encounter in 2005, however, the first half had only one goal, scored against the run of play by Milan's forward Filippo Inzaghi. The goal came in the 45th minute after a deflection from an Andrea Pirlo free kick, given after Alonso had brought down Kaká. The deflection resulted in the ball being diverted past Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who had dived the other way in anticipation of the ball's original trajectory.[28] Replays showed that the ball struck Inzaghi's upper arm on its way to the goal, however the referee did not judge this to have been a handball.[30] Inzaghi later said that while the deflection was intended, he did not intend for the ball to hit his arm.[31]

Second half

Liverpool played cautiously immediately after the break, although they continued to hold the majority of possession. In the 62nd minute, Liverpool created their best chance of the match up to that point, as captain Steven Gerrard capitalised on Gennaro Gattuso's error to burst through one-on-one with Dida, but was unable to muster enough power in his shot to beat the Milan goalkeeper. The game continued in the same pattern with the action concentrated in the Milan half, with Liverpool unable to fashion any real goal-scoring efforts. Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez then took off Javier Mascherano, to be replaced by striker Peter Crouch, in an attempt to equalise.[28] However, Mascherano was marking Kaká, and his removal allowed the Brazilian to run free without being heavily marked. Milan then put the game beyond the English side in the 82nd minute when Inzaghi beat the offside trap via a pass from Kaká and put the ball under the onrushing Pepe Reina to make the score 2–0. Dirk Kuyt gave Liverpool hope as he headed in an 89th-minute goal from Daniel Agger's flick-on from a corner kick, albeit from an offside position, but Milan held on, and the game finished 2–1.[28]

Post-match

AC Milan players celebrate with the trophy.

The trophy was presented to Milan captain Paolo Maldini in the Guest of Honour's box, as UEFA President Michel Platini favoured a return to the past tradition of the winning captain receiving the trophy amongst the fans. It had become customary in recent years to have the presentation on a hastily constructed podium in the centre of the pitch. This was the first time that the trophy was presented to a winning captain by a UEFA president who had actually played against him in the past; during Michel Platini's final seasons with Juventus, the then-teenager Paolo Maldini was making his professional debut with Milan.[26]

Match details

23 May 2007
20:45 CEST
Milan Italy 2 – 1 England Liverpool OACA Spyro Louis Stadium, Athens
Attendance: 74,000[32]
Referee: Herbert Fandel (Germany)[33]
Inzaghi Goal 45'82' (Report) Kuyt Goal 89'
Milan
Liverpool
MILAN:
GK 1 Brazil Dida
RB 44 Italy Massimo Oddo
CB 13 Italy Alessandro Nesta
CB 3 Italy Paolo Maldini (c)
LB 18 Czech Republic Marek Jankulovski Booked in the 54th minute 54' Substituted off in the 80th minute 80'
RM 8 Italy Gennaro Gattuso Booked in the 40th minute 40'
CM 21 Italy Andrea Pirlo
CM 23 Italy Massimo Ambrosini
LM 10 Netherlands Clarence Seedorf Substituted off in the 90+2th minute 90+2'
SS 22 Brazil Kaká
CF 9 Italy Filippo Inzaghi Substituted off in the 88th minute 88'
Substitutes:
GK 16 Australia Zeljko Kalac
DF 2 Brazil Cafu
DF 4 Georgia (country) Kakha Kaladze Substituted on in the 80th minute 80'
DF 19 Italy Giuseppe Favalli Substituted on in the 90+2th minute 90+2'
MF 27 Brazil Serginho
MF 32 Italy Cristian Brocchi
FW 11 Italy Alberto Gilardino Substituted on in the 88th minute 88'
Manager:
Italy Carlo Ancelotti
Milan vs Liverpool 2007-05-23.svg
LIVERPOOL:
GK 25 Spain José Manuel Reina
RB 3 Republic of Ireland Steve Finnan Substituted off in the 88th minute 88'
CB 23 England Jamie Carragher Booked in the 60th minute 60'
CB 5 Denmark Daniel Agger
LB 6 Norway John Arne Riise
DM 14 Spain Xabi Alonso
DM 20 Argentina Javier Mascherano Booked in the 58th minute 58' Substituted off in the 78th minute 78'
RM 16 England Jermaine Pennant
LM 32 Netherlands Boudewijn Zenden Substituted off in the 59th minute 59'
AM 8 England Steven Gerrard (c)
CF 18 Netherlands Dirk Kuyt
Substitutes:
GK 1 Poland Jerzy Dudek
DF 2 Spain Álvaro Arbeloa Substituted on in the 88th minute 88'
DF 4 Finland Sami Hyypiä
MF 7 Australia Harry Kewell Substituted on in the 59th minute 59'
MF 11 Chile Mark González
FW 15 England Peter Crouch Substituted on in the 78th minute 78'
FW 17 Wales Craig Bellamy
Manager:
Spain Rafael Benítez

Man of the Match:
Italy Filippo Inzaghi[34]

Assistant referees:
Germany Carsten Kadach
Germany Volker Wezel
Fourth official:
Germany Florian Meyer

Statistics

First half

Milan Liverpool
Goals scored 1 0
Total shots 2 5
Shots on target 2 1
Ball possession 58% 42%
Corner kicks 1 1
Fouls committed 6 16
Offsides 1 2
Yellow cards 1 0
Red cards 0 0

Second half

Milan Liverpool
Goals scored 1 1
Total shots 3 7
Shots on target 1 3
Ball possession 47% 53%
Corner kicks 3 5
Fouls committed 8 10
Offsides 2 1
Yellow cards 1 2
Red cards 0 0

Overall

Milan Liverpool
Goals scored 2 1
Total shots 5 12
Shots on target 3 4
Ball possession 53% 47%
Corner kicks 4 6
Fouls committed 14 26
Offsides 3 3
Yellow cards 2 2
Red cards 0 0


See also

References

  1. ^ "Regulations of the UEFA Champions League 2006/07" (PDF). UEFA. March 2006. pp. 7–9: §§1.01–1.02 Entries for the competitions. Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20070312003915/http://www.uefa.com/newsfiles/19071.pdf. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  2. ^ Regulations of the UEFA Champions League 2006/07, p.38: Annex 1a: Access List for the 2006/07 UEFA Club Competitions
  3. ^ a b "Milan to play in Champions League". bbc.co.uk. 2006-08-02. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/europe/5233430.stm. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  4. ^ a b Hughes, Rob (2006-07-30). "Soccer: Europeans are facing tough calls: UEFA must rule on safety of teams and integrity of league". International Herald Tribune. http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/30/sports/soccer.php. 
  5. ^ Regulations of the UEFA Champions League 2006/07, pp. 8–9: §§4.03-4.06: Group stage
  6. ^ Regulations of the UEFA Champions League 2006/07, pp. 9–10: §§4.07-4.10: First knock-out round / Quarter-finals / Semi-finals; §5.01: Away goals, extra time
  7. ^ "UEFA Champions League: Season 2006 - 2007: Third qualifying round". UEFA. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/history/season=2006/round=2356/index.html. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  8. ^ "UEFA Champions League: Season 2006 - 2007: Group C". UEFA. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/history/season=2006/round=2357/group=2659.html. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  9. ^ "UEFA Champions League: Season 2006 - 2007: Group H". UEFA. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/history/season=2006/round=2357/group=2664.html. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  10. ^ "UEFA Champions League: Season 2006 - 2007: First knockout round". UEFA. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/history/season=2006/round=2358/index.html. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  11. ^ "UEFA Champions League: Season 2006 - 2007: Quarter-finals". UEFA. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/history/season=2006/round=2359/index.html. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  12. ^ "UEFA Champions League: Season 2006 - 2007: Semi-finals". UEFA. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/history/season=2006/round=2360/index.html. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  13. ^ "The Stadium". The FSF Champions League Final Guide to Athens. The Football Supporters' Federation. 2007. http://www.fsf.org.uk/news/news0036-athens-stadium.html. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  14. ^ "Deadline passes for ticket applications". UEFA.com. 2007-05-19. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/ticketing/newsid=503059.html. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  15. ^ a b "Caborn & Platini hold Reds talks". BBC Sport. 2007-06-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/l/liverpool/6721545.stm. Retrieved 2007-06-05. 
  16. ^ a b "LIVERPOOL FANS RETURN AFTER DEFEAT". SportingLife. 2007-05-24. http://www.sportinglife.com/football/premiership/liverpool/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=soccer/07/05/24/SOCCER_Liverpool_Police.html&TEAMHD=liverpool&DIV=prem&TEAM=LIVERPOOL&RH=Liverpool&PREV_SEASON=. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  17. ^ "Uefa blame English fans for ticket chaos". telegraph.co.uk. 2007-05-24. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=A1YourView&xml=/sport/2007/05/25/sfnbon25.xml. Retrieved 2007-09-04. 
  18. ^ "Uefa blames Reds fans for chaos". BBC Sport. 2007-05-24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/l/liverpool/6686867.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-24. 
  19. ^ "Liverpool are 'the worst fans in Europe' says Uefa report". The Independent on Sunday. 2007-06-04. http://sport.independent.co.uk/football/european/article2611680.ece. Retrieved 2007-05-24. 
  20. ^ "Uefa backtracks on Liverpool fans". BBC Sport. 2007-06-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/liverpool/6721545.stm. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  21. ^ "Sports minister to quiz Platini over ticket debacle". ESPN Soccernet. 2007-05-24. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=433335&cc=5739. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  22. ^ Traynor, Luke (2007-05-11). "UEFA: Athens stadium wasn't built for football". icLiverpool.co.uk. Liverpool Echo. http://icliverpool.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100regionalnews/tm_headline=uefa--athens-stadium-wasn--8217-t-built-for-football&method=full&objectid=19087163&siteid=50061-name_page.html. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  23. ^ "Match Ball". Athens 2007. UEFA.com. 2007-03-09. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/finals/newsid=511837.html. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  24. ^ "UEFA Champions League - Top Scorers - 2006". ESPN Soccernet. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/stats/topscorers?league=uefa.champions&year=2006&cc=5901. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  25. ^ "All white for Milan in Athens". UEFA.com. 2007-05-04. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/news/kind=1/newsid=535523.html. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  26. ^ a b "Athens all set for Europe's finest". UEFA.com. 2007-05-23. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/history/season=2006/round=2361/match=300099/report=mb.html. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  27. ^ Charlie Henderson (2007-05-23). "AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool: As it happened". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/europe/6685231.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  28. ^ a b c d "Inzaghi inspires Milan to glory". UEFA.com. 2007-05-24. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/history/season=2006/round=2361/match=300099/report=rp.html. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  29. ^ "ATHENS: LIVERPOOL V AC MILAN- KAKA & STEVEN GERRARD". readaBet.com. 2007-05-23. http://www.readabet.com/index.php/football/article/10587. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  30. ^ "Technocrat to blame for Athens anti-climax". The Guardian. 2007-05-26. http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/05/26/technocrat_to_blame_for_athens.html. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  31. ^ "Deflected glory goes to Inzaghi with no comeback". London: The Times. 2007-05-24. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/european_football/article1832550.ece. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  32. ^ Phil McNulty (2007-05-23). "AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/6669039.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  33. ^ "Fandel to keep order in Athens". UEFA.com. 2007-05-21. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/news/kind=1/newsid=540619.html. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  34. ^ "Statistics". UEFA.com. 2007-05-23. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/ucl/fixturesresults/round=2361/match=300099/report=st.html. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 

External links


2007 UEFA Champions League Final
[[File:|250px]]
Event 2006–07 UEFA Champions League
Date 23 May 2007
Venue Olympic Stadium, Athens
Man of the Match Filippo Inzaghi (Milan)
Referee Herbert Fandel (Germany)[1]
Attendance 74,000
Weather Partly cloudy
Template:Convert/°C
46% humidity[2]
2006
2008

The 2007 UEFA Champions League Final was a football match played at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece on 23 May 2007, to decide the winner of the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League. Italian club Milan faced England's Liverpool; the same two teams that had contested the 2005 final. Milan won the match 2–1, after two goals by Filippo Inzaghi.

Before 2007, Milan's last triumph had been in the 2003 final, while Liverpool's was against Milan in the 2005 final. Liverpool and Milan started their UEFA Champions League campaigns in the Third Qualifying round; both sides progressed to the group stages and won their respective groups. Liverpool and Milan beat former champions on their way to the final. Milan beat 1967 champions Celtic, four-time champions Bayern Munich, and 1968 and 1999 winners Manchester United. Liverpool beat defending champions Barcelona and 1988 winners PSV Eindhoven. Liverpool also beat Chelsea in the semi-final stage for the second time in three years.

Before the match there were ticketing problems because a large number of fans gained entry to the stadium without valid tickets. After the match, a UEFA spokesman accused Liverpool of having the worst fans in Europe, a claim later denied by UEFA president Michel Platini.

Contents

Route to the final

Teams qualified for the Champions League group stage, either directly or through three preliminary rounds, based on both their position in the preceding domestic league season and the relative strength of that league based on its UEFA coefficient.[3][4] Both Liverpool and Milan entered the competition in the third and final preliminary round: Liverpool by finishing third in the FA Premier League 2005–06, Milan by finishing third in Serie A 2005–06.[5] Milan had originally finished second in Serie A, but were deducted 30 points for their part in a match-fixing scandal.[5][6] The original punishment, reduced on appeal, would have barred them from the Champions League altogether.[6] The group stages were contested as eight double round robin groups of four teams, the top two qualifying for the knockout stages.[7] Knockout ties were decided based on home and away matches, with the away goals rule, extra time and penalty shootouts as tiebreakers if needed.[8]

Milan Round Liverpool
Opponent Result Legs Qualifying phase Opponent Result Legs
Red Star Belgrade 3–1 1–0 home; 2–1 away Third qualifying round[9] Template:Country data ISR Maccabi Haifa 3–2 2–1 home; 1–1 away
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Milan 631284+410
Lille 623185+39
AEK Athens 622269−38
File:Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Anderlecht 6042711−44
Group stage[10][11]
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Liverpool 6411115+613
PSV Eindhoven 631266010
Bordeaux 621367−17
Galatasaray 6114712−54
Opponent Result Legs Knockout stage Opponent Result Legs
Celtic 1–0 0–0 away; 1–0 (aet) home First knockout round[12] Barcelona 2–2 (a) 2–1 away; 0–1 home
Bayern Munich 4–2 2–2 home; 2–0 away Quarter-finals[13] PSV Eindhoven 4–0 3–0 away; 1–0 home
Manchester United 5–3 2–3 away; 3–0 home Semi-finals[14] Chelsea 1–1 (4–1 p) 0–1 away; 1–0 home

Venue

The Olympic Stadium in Athens was selected as the venue for the 2007 UEFA Champions League Final at the April 2005 meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee in Tallinn, Estonia. The meeting also determined the venues for the 2006 final and the 2006 and 2007 UEFA Cup finals.[15]

Shortly before the final, the UEFA Champions League trophy was returned to UEFA by Ludovic Giuly, representing the 2006 winners, Barcelona. UEFA president Michel Platini then presented the trophy to the Mayor of Athens, Nikitas Kaklamanis, so that it might be put on display in and around the city.[16]

Problems before the match

Out of 63,800 tickets, only 9,000 tickets for the final went on general sale; the remainder were shared between the two teams, who got 17,000 each, and the UEFA family and sponsors, who received 20,800 tickets.[17][18] This led to some of the problems before the match.[19] While fans were still queuing to gain entry to the stadium, the Greek police informed them that the stadium was full and denied entry to a number of fans who had genuine tickets.[20] UEFA sources said that as many as 5,000 fans either without tickets or brandishing fakes had entered the 74,000-capacity Olympic Stadium. Simultaneously, thousands of fans with genuine tickets were refused entry as police closed the entrance to the ground amid fears that allowing any more to enter could have led to a disaster.[21] The resulting situation became disorderly, with some Liverpool fans attempting to break through checkpoints, set up by the Greek police. Greek riot police used tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd.[20] UEFA spokesman William Gaillard blamed Liverpool fans for causing the problems, stating, "Milan supporters didn't face the same problems because they didn't behave in the same way".[22] A UEFA report released soon after the final branded Liverpool supporters "the worst fans in Europe", with Gaillard stating: "What other set of fans steal tickets from their fellow supporters or out of the hands of children?"[23] However, UEFA President Michel Platini later denied that Liverpool fans were the worst behaved in Europe.[24] UEFA was itself criticised for poor ticket-checking procedures and for implementing insufficient measures to deal with the large number of fans. Simon Gass, the British ambassador to Greece, said, "Clearly there was some element of breakdown where those fake tickets appeared to be legitimate - that's something UEFA must look at."[25] Meanwhile, Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks described UEFA's allocation of 17,000 tickets to each team, knowing that Liverpool would be bringing 40,000 supporters, as "insane" and accused Gaillard of blaming Liverpool fans in order to cover up for his own mistakes.[19] UEFA was further criticised by Milan and Liverpool for their lack of provision for the clubs' disabled fans, providing the clubs with only sixteen disabled tickets each.[26]

Match ball

Adidas, the official match ball supplier to all major UEFA, FIFA and IOC tournaments, unveiled the official match ball for the 2007 UEFA Champions League final on 9 March 2007, presenting the Adidas Finale Athens. The design of the Adidas Finale Athens was based on the widely recognisable UEFA Champions League Starball logo and was blue and white, representing the colours of the Greek national flag.[27]

Match summary

File:2007 Champions League
Opening ceremony from Gate 31

The final matched two of the top goal-scorers in the competition that season. Milan's Kaká finished on top of the scoring charts with ten goals, and Liverpool's Peter Crouch entered the game tied for third with six goals in total.[28]

Despite being drawn as the "home" team for the match, Milan chose to wear their all-white away strip for the final; they consider that strip to be their "lucky kit" (Italian: maglia fortunata), having won the European Cup five times in those colours. However, Milan had also lost two final wearing all-white, most recently against Liverpool in 2005.[29] This decision by Milan meant that Liverpool played the final in their traditional home kit of red shirts, red shorts and red socks. Each of Liverpool's five European Cup titles were won in their all-red strip, and two of these came when they were playing against Italian teams who played in all-white.[30]

Milan fielded the oldest starting eleven ever in a Champions League final, with the average age at 31 years, 34 days, while Paolo Maldini was the oldest outfield player ever in a final at 38 years and 331 days.[31] Liverpool fielded five of the players that started the 2005 final, those players were; Xabi Alonso, Jamie Carragher, Steve Finnan, Steven Gerrard and John Arne Riise.[32]

The British bookmaker Ladbrokes offered odds on a repeat of the 2005 Champions League Final, 3–0 to Milan at half-time, 3–3 at the end of normal time and Liverpool to win on penalties, of 2007-1.[33]

First half

The first half started off scrappily, as a number of fouls were given away in the early minutes. The first meaningful effort on goal came in the ninth minute when Jermaine Pennant dispossessed Marek Jankulovski, putting himself through on goal, but his scuffed shot was saved by Dida. Milan fought back with Andrea Pirlo coming close to putting Filippo Inzaghi through on goal, Pepe Reina saved a Kaká shot on 17 minutes. In the following minutes both John Arne Riise and Xabi Alonso missed the target with shots from distance, while Massimo Oddo and Marek Jankulovski were causing problems down the flanks. In the 35th minute, Pennant once again broke away down the right after stealing the ball off Paolo Maldini, and put in a good ball for Dirk Kuyt, whose shot was blocked. Unlike the previous encounter in 2005, however, the first half had only one goal, scored against the run of play by Milan forward Filippo Inzaghi. The goal came in the 45th minute after a deflection from an Andrea Pirlo free kick, given after Alonso had brought down Kaká. The deflection resulted in the ball being diverted past Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who had dived the other way in anticipation of the ball's original trajectory.[32] Replays showed that the ball struck Inzaghi's upper arm on its way to the goal, however the referee did not judge this to have been a handball.[34] Inzaghi later said that while the deflection was intended, he did not intend for the ball to hit his arm.[35]

Second half

Liverpool played cautiously immediately after the break, although they continued to hold the majority of possession. In the 62nd minute, Liverpool created their best chance of the match up to that point, as captain Steven Gerrard capitalised on Gennaro Gattuso's error to burst through one-on-one with Dida, but was unable to muster enough power in his shot to beat the Milan goalkeeper. The game continued in the same pattern with the action concentrated in the Milan half, with Liverpool unable to fashion any real goal-scoring efforts. Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez then took off Javier Mascherano, to be replaced by striker Peter Crouch, in an attempt to equalise.[32] However, Mascherano was marking Kaká, and his removal allowed the Brazilian to run free without being heavily marked. Milan then put the game beyond the English side in the 82nd minute when Inzaghi beat the offside trap via a pass from Kaká and put the ball under the onrushing Pepe Reina to make the score 2–0. Dirk Kuyt gave Liverpool hope as he headed in an 89th-minute goal from Daniel Agger's flick-on from a corner kick, albeit from an offside position, but Milan held on, and the game finished 2–1.[32]

Post-match

File:AC Milan team
AC Milan players celebrate with the trophy.

The trophy was presented to Milan captain Paolo Maldini in the Guest of Honour's box, as UEFA President Michel Platini favoured a return to the past tradition of the winning captain receiving the trophy amongst the fans. It had become customary in recent years to have the presentation on a hastily constructed podium in the centre of the pitch. This was the first time that the trophy was presented to a winning captain by a UEFA president who had actually played against him in the past; during Michel Platini's final seasons with Juventus, the then-teenager Paolo Maldini was making his professional debut with Milan.[30]

Match details

23 May 2007
20:45 CEST
Milan 2 – 1 Liverpool OACA Spyro Louis Stadium, Athens
Attendance: 74,000[36]
Referee: Herbert Fandel (Germany)[1]
Inzaghi  45'82' Report Kuyt  89'
Milan
Liverpool
MILAN:[2]
GK 1 Dida
RB 44 Massimo Oddo
CB 13 Alessandro Nesta
CB 3 Paolo Maldini (c)
LB 18 Marek Jankulovski 54' 80'
RM 8 Gennaro Gattuso 40'
CM 21 Andrea Pirlo
CM 23 Massimo Ambrosini
LM 10 Clarence Seedorf 90+2'
SS 22 Kaká
CF 9 Filippo Inzaghi 88'
Substitutes:
GK 16 Željko Kalac
DF 2 Cafu
DF 4 Kakha Kaladze 80'
DF 19 Giuseppe Favalli 90+2'
MF 27 Serginho
MF 32 Cristian Brocchi
FW 11 Alberto Gilardino 88'
Manager:
Carlo Ancelotti
File:Milan vs Liverpool
LIVERPOOL:[2]
GK 25 José Manuel Reina
RB 3
  1. REDIRECT Template:Country data Republic of Ireland Steve Finnan || || 88'
CB 23 Jamie Carragher 60'
CB 5 Daniel Agger
LB 6 John Arne Riise
DM 14 Xabi Alonso
DM 20 Javier Mascherano 58' 78'
RM 16 Jermaine Pennant
LM 32 Boudewijn Zenden 59'
AM 8 Steven Gerrard (c)
CF 18 Dirk Kuyt
Substitutes:
GK 1 Jerzy Dudek
DF 2 Álvaro Arbeloa 88'
DF 4 Sami Hyypiä
MF 7 Harry Kewell 59'
MF 11 Mark González
FW 15 Peter Crouch 78'
FW 17 Craig Bellamy
Manager:
Rafael Benítez

Man of the Match:
Filippo Inzaghi (Milan)[37]

Assistant referees:
Carsten Kadach (Germany)[1]
Volker Wezel (Germany)[1]
Fourth official:
Florian Meyer (Germany)[1]

Statistics

First half

Milan Liverpool
Goals scored 1 0
Total shots 2 5
Shots on target 2 1
Ball possession 58% 42%
Corner kicks 1 1
Fouls committed 6 16
Offsides 1 2
Yellow cards 1 0
Red cards 0 0

Second half

Milan Liverpool
Goals scored 1 1
Total shots 3 7
Shots on target 1 3
Ball possession 47% 53%
Corner kicks 3 5
Fouls committed 8 10
Offsides 2 1
Yellow cards 1 2
Red cards 0 0

Overall

Milan Liverpool
Goals scored 2 1
Total shots 5 12
Shots on target 3 4
Ball possession 53% 47%
Corner kicks 4 6
Fouls committed 14 26
Offsides 3 3
Yellow cards 2 2
Red cards 0 0

See also

References

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  8. ^ Regulations of the UEFA Champions League 2006/07, pp. 9–10: §§4.07-4.10: First knock-out round / Quarter-finals / Semi-finals; §5.01: Away goals, extra time
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  34. ^ Lacey, David (2007-05-26). "Technocrat to blame for Athens anti-climax". London: The Guardian. http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/05/26/technocrat_to_blame_for_athens.html. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  35. ^ Dickinson, Matt (2007-05-24). "Deflected glory goes to Inzaghi with no comeback". London: The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/european_football/article1832550.ece. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
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External links

  1. REDIRECT Template:2006–07 in European Football (UEFA)


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