May 23, 2008

Champions League Finals, Istanbul 2005

Posted in Best moments of my life tagged , , , at 9:45 am by sanjou

If you are a fan of anything in your life you’ll most probably understand my feelings. It was May 25th, 2005, the long awaited day for the Champions League Finals featuring Liverpool FC vs AC Milan. I had been a Liverpool FC fan since childhood, and for me this club is close to being a religion. So, this day represented verdict day for me and every Liverpool fans around the world. The pressure was on since morning and I couldn’t help but pray for the lads to triumph in Istanbul and bring the trophy back home.

Fianlly, it was kick off time at Istanbul. I was sitting in front of my TV at home watching Istanbul. The noise was immense and the support was extraordinary from both sets of fans. I wished i could be there. But there was nothing that could stop me from appreciating the match. Fellow Liverpool fans as ususal were living up to their credentials as being the most passionate fans in the world. They made immense noise and sang their heart out singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Well, the match started and AC Milan imposed their game from the very start. Minutes went by without Liverpool being able to catch up with the game. I started to feel bad sensing a defeat closing upon us. Then it was not long before disaster struck. AC Milan scored their first goal. Istanbul almost exploded. AC Milan had now gained more confidence. They continued to dominate and it was not long before they scored their 2nd goal. At that time I was almost devastated. It’s finished i said. I almost cried. Then, the unthinkable happened. AC Milan stretched the scoreline further as they scored another goal just before the stroke of half time. I was then convinced that we had lost the final but still believed we could score a consolation goal at least.

15 minutes later, the 2nd half started. Liverpool started to get back into the game finishing passes and keeping the ball. Then it was only a matter of time before the moment of magic happened. Liverpool scored their 1st goal. Istanbul was buzzing. Minutes later Liverpool scored another one. I became nearly mad, I leaped in the air calling the team to score the equalizer. At the same time Istanbul nearly exploded. Then the unthinkable happened. Liverpool scored the equalizer to make the score 3-3. The Liverpool supporters nearly blew the roof off Istanbul at that time. I was nearly in tears at that moment. I remember kneeling on the floor in front of my TV with the hands up in the air in triumph. I then sensed we could beat AC Milan. I then realised that we had just created history. We played well for the rest of the game without scoring although we came really close on a few occasions.

The game went to extra time and the stalemate still remained. My heart nearly stopped when AC Milan almost scored inside the last minute of the second half of extra time. The Liverpool goalie played extremely well by keeping that ball out with his foot. The ref blew the whistle signalling the end of the game after that miss and the verdict was set to be determined on penalties. The Liverpool goalie was immense as he was moving in such a way on the line that caused AC Milan players to get frustrated. He effectively stopped two penalty kicks and Liverpool did not fail to score from the spot kick. After the last penalty, the Liverpool players were dancing and running to the fans to thank them for their support. Liverpool became winners of the Champions League.

Istanbul was on fire. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. There was a moment when i felt like being battered and humiliated in front of a huge public and the next moment saw me standing proud, head high and celebrating one of the most extraordinary finals in the history of the Champions League. Liverpool always sets the record and creates the milestone, for others to try to equalise or break. Few in England have been able to break the record set by Liverpool FC. That is why, Liverpool is considered and will remain the most successful club in English football.