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The 2005 UEFA Champions League Final was the final match of the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League, Europe's primary club football competition. The show-piece event was contested between Liverpool of Englandmarker and Milan of Italymarker at the Atatürk Stadiummarker in Istanbulmarker, Turkeymarker on Wednesday 25 May 2005. Liverpool, who had won the competition four times, were appearing in their sixth final, and their first since the Heysel Stadium Disastermarker in 1985. Milan, who had won the competition six times, were appearing in their second final in three years and tenth overall.

Each club needed to progress through the group stage and knockout rounds to reach the final, playing 12 matches in total. Liverpool finished second in their group behind 2004 runners up Monaco and subsequently beat Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea to progress to the final. Milan won their group ahead of Barcelona and faced Manchester United, Internazionale and PSV Eindhoven before reaching the final.

Milan were regarded as favourites before the match and took the lead within the first minute through captain Paolo Maldini. Hernán Crespo added two more goals before half-time to make it 3–0. During the second half, in a stunning comeback, Liverpool scored three goals in six minutes to level the scores at 3–3, the goals coming courtesy of Steven Gerrard, Vladimír Šmicer and Xabi Alonso. The scores remained the same during extra time, and a penalty shootout was required to decide the champions. The score was 3–2 to Liverpool when Andriy Shevchenko's penalty was saved by Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek. Thus Liverpool had won their fifth European Cup, 20 years after being banned from European competition following the Heysel Stadium Disaster. The match is often referred to as the "Miracle of Istanbul".

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 and the strength of that league. Liverpool entered the competition in the third qualifying round after finishing fourth in the FA Premier League 2003-04. They faced Grazer AK of Austriamarker and won the first leg 2–0 at Grazer after two goals from captain Steven Gerrard. They lost the second leg 1–0 at Anfieldmarker but progressed to the group stage by virtue of winning the tie 2–1 on aggregate. Milan entered the competition in the group stage after winning Serie A. The group stages were contested as eight double round robin groups of four teams, the top two qualifying for the knockout stages. Knockout ties were decided based on home and away matches, with the away goals rule, extra time and penalty shootout as tiebreakers if needed.

Milan Round Liverpool
Opponent Result Legs Qualifying phase Opponent Result Legs
Third qualifying round Grazer AK 2–1 0–1 home; 2–0 away

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Milan 6 4 1 1 10 3 +7 13
Barcelona 6 3 1 2 9 6 +3 10
Shakhtar Donetsk 6 2 0 4 5 9 −4 6
Celtic 6 1 2 3 4 10 −6 5
Group stage

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Monaco 6 4 0 2 10 4 +6 12
Liverpool 6 3 1 2 6 3 +3 10
Olympiacos 6 3 1 2 5 5 0 10
Deportivo 6 0 2 4 0 9 −9 2
Opponent Result Legs Knockout stage Opponent Result Legs
Manchester United 2–0 1–0 away; 1–0 home First knockout round Bayer Leverkusen 6–2 3–1 home; 3–1 away
Internazionale 5–0 2–0 home; 3–0 away Quarter-finals Juventus 2–1 2–1 home; 0–0 away
PSV Eindhoven 3–3 (a) 2–0 home; 1–3 away Semi-finals Chelsea 1–0 0–0 away; 1–0 home


The 2005 final was the sixth time Liverpool had reached the final and it was their first appearance since 1985 European Cup Final, when they lost 1–0 to Juventus and were subsequently banned from European competition for an indefinite period due to the Heysel Stadium Disastermarker. They had previously won the European Cup on four occasions in 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1984. The match was Milan's tenth appearance in the final. They had won on six occasions (1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003), and lost three times (1958, 1993, 1995). In total the teams had participated in 14 finals between them. Prior to the game, Milan were assured of entering the Champions League next season after finishing second in Serie A, albeit with a match left. Liverpool meanwhile had failed to finish in the top four in the Premier League, and had to win the final to enter the competition the following season. Even if they did win the match, they were not assured of a place after UEFA neither confirmed or denied if they would allow Liverpool to defend the championship the next season. The Football Association supported Liverpool stating: "We have already submitted a written request to have an additional place, should they win the Champions League". Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti had his own view on the situation: "I think a team that wins should have the right to defend it but we may just do the English federation a favour and solve this".

A total of 69,500 tickets were available for the final and each team was allocated 20,000 tickets. UEFA auctioned 7,500 tickets for the final through its website, whilst another 14,500 were distributed to its "football family". The Turkish Football Federation also had 7,500 tickets available for fans from their country, but there were concerns these tickets would end up being sold on the black market. Hotel rooms in the city were scarce with the 100,000 available quickly booked by travel agents and fans. Some 30,000 Liverpool fans made the trip to Istanbulmarker but only 20,000 were expected to have tickets; those without tickets hoped to watch the match in the many bars in Istanbul. The BBC reported early arrivals were lively but there was no violence and the mood between the two fans was friendly.

Milan were regarded as favourites and their team included many players who had experienced success in the competition. The most notable was captain Paolo Maldini, who had won the competition four times previously, all with Milan, and Clarence Seedorf who had won the competition three times with three different clubs. Liverpool had been considered underdogs throughout the competition but had beaten more favoured opposition including Juventus and Chelsea to reach the final. Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez acknowledged this: "Maybe Milan are favourites, but we have confidence, and we can win". Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger felt Liverpool would win the match: "I fancy Liverpool as Milan look jaded physically and certainly mentally, by losing the title, I think they have never had a better chance than now to beat Milan". Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was not so optimistic stating that this Liverpool side were not as good as the one that won the UEFA Cup in 2001: "No disrespect to the squad we have got now but it is obvious we are not as strong as we were when we won the UEFA Cup in 2001. Back then we had a settled team and that season when we went into games against Barcelona and Roma, we always felt we were as good as them".

Milan were expected to field a 4-4-2 formation, and there was much speculation about who would partner Andriy Shevchenko in attack. Filippo Inzaghi and Jon Dahl Tomasson were touted but it was expected that on-loan striker Hernán Crespo would be chosen. This was echoed by Milan manager Ancelotti: "I will not say if he will play from the start, but he will definitely play". Liverpool were expected to line up in similar 4-4-2 formation. Dietmar Hamann was expected to start ahead of Igor Bišćan, while there was doubt over whether Djibril Cisse or Milan Baroš would start as the main striker. Benítez gave no clues as to who would play when questioned on the matter: "Both are good enough, maybe both can play, why not?".



Liverpool fielded a 4-4-1-1 formation, with the surprise inclusion in the squad being Harry Kewell, who played just behind Milan Baroš, who himself had been picked ahead of Djibril Cisse. The inclusion of Kewell meant Dietmar Hamann was left on the substitutes' bench and Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard started in the centre of midfield. Milan fielded a 4-4-2 formation, with Hernán Crespo preferred to Jon Dahl Tomasson and Filippo Inzaghi, who was not included in the match day squad. Liverpool lined up in their red home kit, whilst Milan wore a changed strip of all white. Liverpool won the the toss and kicked off.

Milan scored within the first minute of the match after captain Paolo Maldini volleyed in an Andrea Pirlo free-kick which had been conceded by Djimi Traore. As a result of scoring, Maldini became the oldest scorer in the competition. Liverpool responded almost immediately; John Arne Riise, who was picked out by a corner kick from Steven Gerrard, hit a volley from the edge of the penalty box. His shot was cleared only for Gerrard to cross in from the right wing, which Sami Hyypiä headed towards goal producing a save out of Dida. Milan almost extended their lead in the 13th minute, after Crespo's header was cleared off the goal line by Luis García. A few minutes later, Liverpool made a substitution after Harry Kewell picked up a groin injury; he was replaced by Vladimír Šmicer. Soon after, Kaka passed through to Andriy Shevchenko who put his shot past Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek, but Shevchenko was adjudged to have been in an offside position and the goal did not stand. Shevchenko had another chance to score a few minutes later; after being played onside by Traore, his shot was saved by Dudek after he came under pressure from the Liverpool defence. Luis García had two chances to score following Shevchenko's shot; the first shot from the edge of the penalty area went well over the crossbar and after he was headed through by Baroš his next shot went wide. Straight after this attack, Crespo went through on goal only to be flagged for offside. Almost immediately after this Liverpool had a penalty claim turned down after Alessandro Nesta allegedly handballed. Milan countered and scored; Kaka dribbled the ball into the Liverpool half and passed to Shevchenko, who passed to Crespo at the far post to score and make it 2–0. Minutes later, Crespo extended Milan's lead with a chip over Dudek after Kaka provided the assist.

At the start of the second half, Liverpool made a substitution with Dietmar Hamann replacing Steve Finnan. Following this they decided to play three in defence and four in midfield in an attempt to reduce the deficit. Liverpool had the best chance early on with Xabi Alonso sending an effort from narrowly past Milan's right hand post. A minute later Liverpool scored through captain Steven Gerrard, who headed in John Arne Riise's cross. Soon afterwards, Liverpool scored again; Vladimír Šmicer beat Dida in the Milan goal to leave Liverpool a goal behind. Three minutes after Šmicer's goal Liverpool were awarded a penalty after Steven Gerrard was upended in the Milan penalty area after a Gennaro Gattuso tackle. Xabi Alonso's penalty was saved, but he scored from the rebound to equalise for Liverpool. Milan and Liverpool had chances to take the lead after this, but Clarence Seedorf and Riise failed to score.

Milan almost took the lead in the 70th minute, after Dudek dropped a low cross towards Shevchenko, whose effort was cleared off the line by Traore. Gerrard then had a chance to score but he sent his shot over the crossbar. About ten minutes later García could not control a pass from Gerrard which lead to a Milan attack, Crespo played the ball back to Kaka, whose subsequent shot was blocked by Jamie Carragher. A number of substitutions were made before the end of full time with Liverpool replacing Milan Baroš with Djibril Cisse, while Milan replaced Hernán Crespo and Clarence Seedorf with Jon Dahl Tomasson and Serginho respectively. Milan had the last chance before full time but Kaka failed to direct Jaap Stam's header towards goal, meaning the final would go to extra time for the 13th time in the competition's history.

Liverpool kicked off the first half of extra time. Pirlo had a chance in the early stages, but he put his shot over the crossbar. Tomasson came close in the later stages of the first period of extra time, but he could not make contact with the ball. Vladimir Šmicer required treatment for cramp towards the end of the first period, as a number of Liverpool players began to tire. Liverpool had the best of the early exchanges after winning two corners, but could not score. Shortly afterwards, Milan make their final substitution replacing Gennaro Gattuso with Manuel Rui Costa. The best chance of the second half came near the end when Shevchenko shot at goal. Dudek saved only for it to rebound back out to Shevchenko, who again shot from under , which Dudek again saved by pushing the header over the bar. Liverpool had one last chance at the end of extra time, but John Arne Riise's free kick shot was blocked and following this the referee signalled the end of extra time, which meant a penalty shootout would decide the championship.


Liverpool and Milan had each won their last European Cups after penalties and it was also the second time in three years the final would be decided by a penalty shootout. Milan were first to take a penalty but Serginho shot over the crossbar after attempt from Jerzy Dudek to distract him. Dietmar Hamann took Liverpool's first penalty, scoring to put his side 1–0 up. Andrea Pirlo was next for Milan, and his penalty was saved as Dudek dived to his right to save the shot. Cisse scored his penalty to put Liverpool 2–0 up. Tomasson scored Milan's next penalty to reduce the deficit. Riise was next for Liverpool, but his penalty was saved by Dida. Kaka scored the subsequent penalty to level the scores at 2–2. Vladimír Šmicer was next for Liverpool and scored to give them a one goal advantage. Shevchenko who had scored the winning penalty in the 2003 final had to score or Liverpool won. He hit his penalty straight down the middle of the goal. Dudek went down to his right but he blocked the shot with his left hand to ensure Liverpool won 3–2 and claimed their fifth European Cup.


GK 1 Dida
RB 2 Cafu
CB 31 Jaap Stam
CB 13 Alessandro Nesta
LB 3 Paolo Maldini (c)
DM 21 Andrea Pirlo
RM 8 Gennaro Gattuso
LM 20 Clarence Seedorf
AM 22 Kaká
CF 7 Andriy Shevchenko
CF 11 Hernán Crespo
GK 46 Christian Abbiati
DF 4 Kakha Kaladze
DF 5 Alessandro Costacurta
MF 10 Rui Costa
MF 24 Vikash Dhorasoo
MF 27 Serginho
FW 15 Jon Dahl Tomasson
Carlo Ancelotti
GK 1 Jerzy Dudek
RB 3 Steve Finnan
CB 23 Jamie Carragher
CB 4 Sami Hyypiä
LB 21 Djimi Traoré
DM 14 Xabi Alonso
RM 10 Luis García
CM 8 Steven Gerrard (c)
LM 6 John Arne Riise
SS 7 Harry Kewell
CF 5 Milan Baroš
GK 20 Scott Carson
DF 17 Josemi
MF 16 Dietmar Hamann
MF 18 Antonio Núñez
MF 25 Igor Bišćan
FW 9 Djibril Cissé
FW 11 Vladimír Šmicer
Rafael Benítez
Man of the Match:

Steven Gerrard

Assistant referees:

Clemente Plou

Oscar Samaniego

Fourth official:

Arturo Dauden Ibáñez


First half
Milan Liverpool
Goals scored 3 0
Total shots 7 5
Shots on target 5 1
Ball possession 45% 55%
Corner kicks 1 1
Fouls committed 8 7
Offsides 5 1
Yellow cards 0 0
Red cards 0 0

Second half
Milan Liverpool
Goals scored 0 3
Total shots 9 9
Shots on target 1 3
Ball possession 55% 45%
Corner kicks 8 3
Fouls committed 8 16
Offsides 2 4
Yellow cards 0 2
Red cards 0 0

Milan Liverpool
Goals scored 3 3
Total shots 16 14
Shots on target 6 4
Ball possession 50% 50%
Corner kicks 9 4
Fouls committed 16 23
Offsides 7 5
Yellow cards 0 2
Red cards 0 0

Post match

By winning the European Cup for a fifth time, Liverpool earned the privilege of the UEFA badge of honour. Under normal competition rules the winning club gets to keep the trophy for only 10 months, as they must deliver it to UEFA two months before the next year's final, but they receive a scaled-down replica to keep. However, in this case, the rules specified that the trophy became the permanent possession of Liverpool because it was their fifth European Cup. The 2005–06 participants competed for a new (identical) trophy.

Liverpool celebrated their victory by parading the trophy around Liverpoolmarker in an open-top double-decker bus the day after the final. They were cheered by approximately 1,000,000 fans as they toured the city, with 300,000 of those fans located around St George's Hallmarker – the final destination of the parade. Business experts estimated that one in five workers took time off following the victory after partying all night, and many Everton fans were said to have taken the day off work to escape their colleagues' jibes about Liverpool's victory. It was also estimated that Liverpudlians had drunk 10,000 bottles of Champagne celebrating the victory, with supermarket chain Sainsbury'smarker stating: "We've never seen anything like it. We would usually expect to sell this much champagne at Christmas".

Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez admitted after the match that the manner of his side's victory had stunned him: "My problem is that I don't have words to express the things that I feel at this moment," he said after the match". Benítez was also prepared to break up his winning side after the final with a number of players expected to leave the club to make way for new arrivals. One of those leaving was Vladimír Šmicer who had scored Liverpool's second goal – his contract expired at the end of the season. Dietmar Hamann was in the same situation and Milan Baroš and Igor Bišćan expected to leave as well.

Meanwhile, Milan were amazed at how they had lost the final after leading 3–0 at half-time. Manager Carlo Ancelotti blamed a crazy period of play for their defeat: "We had six minutes of madness in which we threw away the position we had reached until then". The result compounded Milan's failure to win Serie A a week before the match – their draw away to Palermo meant Juventus became Italian champions. Milan's Vice-President, Adriano Galliani, played down the events, stating: "Even if we come second in the league, and second in the Champions League, this is not a disastrous season for us". Captain Paolo Maldini was less optimistic stating that this was a "huge disappointment", but that he added that Milan would accept the defeat and "go out with their heads high".

Much of the discussion after the final was about the future of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard who had been linked with a move to rivals Chelsea. It is often said Gerrard won that Champions all by himself, given the lack of superstar talents in his team. It was him who earned the man of the match, and him who lifted his team to victory with his goal to open the count for Liverpool. He gave a clue about his future intentions, stating: "How can I think of leaving Liverpool after a night like this?". Contract talks were slow to take place and it seemed Gerrard would move to Chelsea after his agent Stuart Marshall admitted talks had broken down with Liverpool and that they were "unlikely to be re-opened". Days later, media reports quoted Gerrard as saying that he wanted to leave Liverpool, citing events in the month after the Champions League victory as the reason. The next day however, Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry released a statement confirming that Gerrard had decided to stay at Anfieldmarker, blaming the earlier breakdown on miscommunication between the two parties. Gerrard signed a new four year contract on 8 July to end the speculation over his future.

Despite winning the competition Liverpool's place in next season's Champions League was still in doubt. They faced a three week wait to discover if they would be allowed to defend their title. UEFA were to meet at Manchestermarker on 17 June to decide their fate but a decision was made a week earlier on 10 June with UEFA confirming that Liverpool would be able to compete in the Champions League. The UEFA Executive Committee amended the regulations for future competitions so that the holders will have the right to defend their title and therefore qualify automatically. Liverpool were entered into the first qualifying round, and were given no "country protection"; meaning they could face another English club at any stage of the competition. Liverpool subsequently qualified, and were drawn against Chelsea (due to the fact that they had no 'country protection', they were liable to be drawn against an English club), Real Betis and Anderlecht. They qualified for the knockout stages in first place in the group (with Chelsea finishing second), but were knocked out by Benfica, losing 1-0 in Portugalmarker, and 2-0 at Anfieldmarker.

As champions, Liverpool faced CSKA Moscow – the winners of the UEFA Cup – in the UEFA Super Cup. The subsequent match played on 26 August was won 3–1 by Liverpool after extra time. Their success also meant they would participate in the FIFA Club World Cup. They were awarded a bye in the first round and faced Deportivo Saprissa in the semi-final winning 3–0. They faced Copa Libertadores champions São Paulo in the final losing 1–0 after having three goals disallowed.


  1. Regulations of the UEFA Champions League 2006/07, p.38: Annex 1a: Access List for the 2006/07 UEFA Club Competitions
  2. Regulations of the UEFA Champions League 2006/07, pp. 8–9: §§4.03-4.06: Group stage
  3. 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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