Milan enter Champions League final
AC Milan produces a stunning performance, beat Manchester United 3-0 in the second leg of their Champions League football semi-final.sports Updated: May 03, 2007 17:56 IST
AC Milan produced a stunning performance to beat Manchester United 3-0 in the second leg of their Champions League football semi-final to set up a repeat of the 2005 final against Liverpool.
Kaka, the outstanding player of Wednesday night, Clarence Seedorf and Alberto Gilardino scored the goals as Milan overturned their 3-2 deficit from the first leg to advance 5-3 on aggregate.
"In the first half, we played perfect football," Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
"The first leg had given us the desire and the strength for the return. It is a great joy for the way we began (in the preliminary round). With Liverpool it will be a tough battle, moreover from the physical point of view."
Six-time champions Milan reached the final for the third time in five years, repeating their feat of 1958, when they recovered from a first-leg loss to reach the final, also against United - the only previous time the winners of the first leg of the semi-final had gone out.
United, who had Nemanja Vidic back after injury, were barely in the race as Milan dominated the first half in heavy rain at the San Siro, controlling possession and forcing the English side onto the back foot with superb passing and movement.
They were ahead within just 10 minutes as Kaka, who had already threatened, fired them in front from the edge of the box to level the tie on aggregate.
With the away goals rule meaning that they would actually go through if the scoreline stayed the same, Milan could have been forgiven for sitting on their lead.
But they did nothing of the sort as they took the game to a United side that never found the kind of form that saw them hammer Roma in the previous round.
With Cristiano Ronaldo a peripheral figure and Wayne Rooney subdued, United were toothless and they compounded their problems by gifting Milan their second goal after half an hour.
Gabriel Heinze tried to play his way out of defence and landed Vidic in trouble. The ball fell to Milan and Vidic again bumbled a challenge as the Dutchman regained possession to rifle in the second.
Milan now have the chance to win their seventh European Cup title and also to gain revenge on Liverpool, who beat them on penalties two years ago.
First Published: May 03, 2007 16:43 IST