Liverpool win Champions League title
Liverpool made history by coming from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with AC Milan and win an astonishing Champions League final 3-2 on penalties on Wednesday.
The English club scored three goals in seven minutes to take the match into extra time and when Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko's spot-kick was saved by goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek the biggest turnaround in a European Cup final was complete.
"I don't think I have the words to express how I feel at this moment," said Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez after his club's fifth European Cup triumph, 21 years after their last.
"I don't think anyone's ever seen a game like that. At halftime the manager was just trying to keep our heads up," said Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher.
As UEFA president Lennart Johansson handed the trophy to Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard way past midnight in the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, however, it would be hard to imagine him refusing to allow the rules to be changed.
The game had started in amazing fashion when Milan captain Paolo Maldini, playing in his seventh final, put his side ahead after just 53 seconds with a downward volley from an Andrea Pirlo free kick.
The defender's goal, his first of the season, was the fastest in a European Cup final since Enrique Mateos for Real Madrid against Stade de Reims in 1959. At 36, Maldini also became the oldest player to score in a final.
Benitez was forced into a change in the 23rd minute when Australian Harry Kewell, a surprise starter, picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Czech midfielder Vladimir Smicer.
Milan remained on top, though, and European Footballer of the Year Shevchenko had an effort ruled out for offside in the 29th minute.
Six minutes before the break Brazilian Kaka fed Shevchenko on the right and the Ukrainian picked out Crespo at the back post with a low cross which the Argentine tapped home to make it 2-0.
A minute before the interval Kaka produced a magical turn to lose Gerrard in midfield and he delivered a defense splitting pass which Crespo confidently chipped past the advancing Dudek to give the Italians a commanding 3-0 lead.
Within the space of 15 minutes of the second half, however, Liverpool were level with three quick-fire goals that left Milan, six-times European champions, simply stunned.
First Gerrard rose well to head a John Arne Riise cross past the stationary Dida and two minutes later German Dietmar Hamann, a halftime substitute, set up Smicer who beat Dida with a low drive from 20 meters.
With Milan's defense reeling, Gerrard burst into the Milan area and was bundled over by Gennaro Gattuso for a penalty.
Dida dived to parry out Xabi Alonso's spot-kick but the Spaniard hammered the loose ball into the roof of the net.
The game settled down and there were few real chances but Shevchenko almost won it for Milan two minutes from the end of extra time when his powerful header was brilliantly saved by Dudek who threw up a hand to deny the striker's follow-up.
Liverpool took control of the shootout when Serginho and Pirlo failed with Milan's first two penalties.
Dietmar Hamann, Djibril Cisse and Smicer scored for Liverpool and Shevchenko's weak effort was comfortably saved by Dudek to seal the English side's triumph.