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The 2001 UEFA Cup Final was the final match of the 2000–01 UEFA Cup, Europe's secondary club football competition. The showpiece event was contested between Liverpool of Englandmarker and Deportivo Alavés of Spainmarker at the Westfalenstadionmarker in Dortmundmarker, Germanymarker on Wednesday 16 May 2001, to decide the winner of the UEFA Cup. Two-time winners Liverpool were appearing in their third final, whereas Alavés were appearing in the final for the first time.

The final saw Liverpool win due to an own golden goal. Combined with beating Birmingham City on penalties to win the League Cup and with victory in the 2001 FA Cup Final, the win secured a unique Treble for Houllier and his club.

Path to Final

The Merseysiders, resurgent under French coach Gérard Houllier, had come through a tough draw with only one blemish to their name, a 1–0 home defeat by AS Roma. Yet they had already won 2–0 in Romemarker, so Italy's champions-elect joined an A-list of victims that included Olympiakos FC, FC Porto and in the semi-final, FC Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Alavés had stunned Italian watchers by knocking out Inter Milan at San Siromarker in the Fourth Round. The Basque club had already shown themselves to be no respecters of reputation by rising out of Spain's third division under the charismatic leadership of coach José Manuel Esnal, or 'Mané'. On the other hand, Alaves showed themselves equally, not to be underestimated, as FC Kaiserslautern learnt to their cost in the semi-finals where Alavés put nine goals past them over two legs to qualify for their first ever UEFA Cup final.

Overview

There was a marked contrast between the two clubs. Alavés had not a single domestic title to their name and had spent the majority of their history in the lower divisions; Liverpool had the largest trophy cabinet in English football. Alavés wore a special kit in the final, echoing Argentine giants Boca Juniors, and displaying the name of all their socios (members), while Liverpool wore their traditional all-red kit.

First Half

The opening minutes set the trend for the night ahead. After just four minutes, Markus Babbel, returning to his native Germany, was given a free header inside the area to put Liverpool ahead. Just twelve minutes later, Liverpool countered an Alavés attack and Michael Owen found Steven Gerrard in space and he made no mistake driving the ball under the body of Alavés goalkeeper Martín Herrera. Liverpool were two goals ahead after only 20 minutes.

Alavés, needing to change things, responded by replacing Dan Eggen with Iván Alonso in the 23rd minute. Only three minutes later, he pulled one back for the Spaniards with a fine header to make it 2–1. But Liverpool, who had become so dangerous with their counter-attacking tactics, were to restore their two goal advantage before the break. Once again, Michael Owen had broken clear of the Alavés defence and was bearing down on goal. As he tried to go round Herrera, the goalkeeper caught him and brought him down. The referee had no hesitation in giving a penalty to Liverpool and Herrera was booked for the foul, escaping a red card as he was not the 'last man'. Gary McAllister, having scored the vital goal from the penalty spot against Barcelona in the semi-final, made no mistake in putting Liverpool 3–1 ahead going into the break.

Second Half

In contrast to the first-half, it was Alavés who hit the net early on as they fought their way back to parity. Javi Moreno, an FC Barcelona youth product, stood over a free-kick just outside the Liverpool defensive area. He struck the ball under a leaping Emil Heskey and past Sander Westerveld to make it 3–2. Less than three minutes later, Cosmin Contra made his way to the edge of the area, turning the Liverpool defence inside-out, before centering the ball to find the head of Javi Moreno to make it 3–3.

Alavés were back in it but, oddly, Mané decided substitute Javi Moreno in the 68th minute. A few minutes earlier, Houllier had sent on Robbie Fowler and it took the Liverpudlian less than ten minutes to justify his introduction. Receiving a pass from McAllister on the edge of the area, Fowler moved across the box and, after controlling the ball deftly with his left foot, placed a right-footed strike into the bottom right-hand corner of the net to make it 4–3. As had happened in previous rounds, Alavés continued to press on, desperately seeking an equaliser and never giving up hope. A corner in 88th minute found the head of Jordi Cruyff, son of the legendary Johan Cruyff, at the near post. Westerveld misjudged it horribly and the ex-Manchester United and Barcelona midfielder had equalised to make the score 4–4 going into extra-time.

Extra-Time

Extra-time failed to match the excitement of the previous 90 minutes and was marred by the red cards of Alavés players Magno Mocelin, for a second bookable offence, and Antonio Karmona, for the same reason. Both Alavés and Liverpool were to have goals disallowed for offside in the first period, Iván Alonso and Robbie Fowler, respectively. However, Liverpool's golden goal winner was eventually to arrive four minutes from the end. The free-kick which had resulted from Karmona's foul and subsequent sending off was delivered by McAllister. As the ball was played in, the one-man wall of, Delfí Geli tried to block the ball but managed to flick it past the despairing Herrera and into the back of the net. Liverpool had won the UEFA Cup for the third time in their history and the victory completed a unique treble of cup wins (including the FA Cup and Football League Cup) for the club that season.

Match details



LIVERPOOL:
GK 1 Sander Westerveld
DF 6 Markus Babbel
DF 12 Sami Hyypiä (c)
DF 2 Stéphane Henchoz
DF 23 Jamie Carragher
MF 21 Gary McAllister
MF 16 Dietmar Hamann
MF 17 Steven Gerrard
MF 13 Danny Murphy
FW 8 Emile Heskey
FW 10 Michael Owen
Substitutes:
GK 19 Pegguy Arphexad
DF 27 Grégory Vignal
DF 29 Stephen Wright
MF 7 VladimĂ­r Ĺ micer
MF 20 Nick Barmby
FW 9 Robbie Fowler
MF 15 Patrik Berger
Manager:
Gerard Houllier
ALAVÉS:
GK 1 MartĂ­n Herrera
DF 2 Cosmin Contra
DF 5 Antonio Karmona (c)
DF 6 Oscar TĂ©llez
DF 4 Dan Eggen
DF 7 DelfĂ­ Geli
MF 14 Jordi Cruijff
MF 15 Ivan Tomić
MF 16 Hermes Desio
MF 18 MartĂ­n Astudillo
FW 9 Javi Moreno
Substitutes:
GK 25 Kike
FW 19 Iván Alonso
FW 11 Magno Mocelin
MF 3 Ibón Begoña
MF 17 Raúl Gañán
MF 20 Jorge Azkoitia
FW 10 Pablo
Manager:
José Manuel Esnal


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