It was the replay of the match played two years ago by Milan and Liverpool and the game was won by Liverpool in a manor that many called as “The miracle of Istanbul”. The teams had some changes in their first eleven, but the essential player all remained there, including the captains Maldini and Gerrard.
Maldini scored the first goal of the last match, but to his dismay and to the disappointment of his fans, including me, Maldini eventually lost the game. The Milan’s fanatic fans expected to settle the score in this match and at the end of the game they were the happy fellows who celebrated victory.
At the time of the final, Maldini, el capitano, was 38 years old. He is the kind of player that have seen it all, won it all and at that moment he looked more like a titan on the pitch and the lads around him were simply mortals. He’s been there since the beginning. Heck, he comes from a different football era, he was there when Platini was on the pitch, he was there to stop Messi from hitting the net when Milan played against Barca. When he began to play for Milan, the shirts were different, the football was different, the tempo and the style of play was different. He comes form the romantic era of play, straight into the proficient football of today.
After a short ceremony, the game had started. Maldini was confident, composure can be seen into his eyes, he had seen much in his career. The first half was somehow lethargic and both teams tried timidly to break each others defenses. In the last minute of the first half, the god of all opportunities stepped into the spotlight. Inzaghi have scored!! Andrea Pirlo took a free kick, the ball hits the wall and is defected past Liverpool goalie, hitting Inzaghi’s shoulder and the rest is just football history. Goal for Milan! The first strike in this game goes, once again, to the old boys. The first half ended with Milan in the lead.
Liverpool tried anemically to make up for the goal they took, in much of the second part, the game was played in the middle of the pitch until the 82 minute of play. Inzaghi scored his second goal! Two for the old fox! He beats the offside trap after he received a pass from Kaka, and then he puts the ball under a charging Reina. The Cormorants scored a late consolation goal in the 89 minute of play, when Kuyt scored a goal with his header. It was to little, to late, for Liverpool to make another comeback. Milan have won the trophy, Maldini was their captain. After the game, the trophy was handed to Maldini by Platini and Il Capitano raised the trophy high into the air over his head. It was the last final of his life, it was his last trophy won with the team at which he started all.
What a career, what an ending!