2008 Champions League Final Review: Manchester United vs. Chelsea

On 21st May 2008, Manchester United and Chelsea were playing the 2008 Champions League Final at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow Russia.

This was the 53rd Champions League final and the first final to be played by any two English Premier League teams since the inception of the competition. 

Manchester United was familiar with UCL finals after having won the 1999 finals against Bayern Munich in Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain.

On the other hand, it was the first time Chelsea was playing in Champions League final since the inception of the club in 1905. 

The ground was set. The fans were seated and cheering eagerly waiting for the match.  

The Match 

The first half started with both teams showing a lot of determination to score. On the 26th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a spectacular goal against Chelsea’s keeper, Peter Cech.

Chelsea reciprocated at the last minute of the first half when Frank Lampard equalized to make it a draw.

The second half ended up without any goal despite fierce attempts by lethal Ronaldo and Drogba. Each club substituted only one player during this half.

Manchester’s Giggs substituted Scholes in 87th minute whereas Chelsea’s Kalou replaced Malouda (92nd minute).

Extra Time

 Both teams showed a lot of zeal to seal a win before the lapse of extra time. Disaster struck for Chelsea at exactly 4 minutes to the end of extra time. What happened? 

Didier Drogba, Chelsea’s most lethal striker at the time, was shown a red card after slapping Nemanja Vidic!

This was a big blow to the Chelsea team if the disappointment in the faces of Chelsea fans in the field and beyond was anything to go by. 

Meanwhile, both teams substituted two players each in preparation for a possible penalty shootout since there were no signs of a goal during extra time.

For Manchester, Nani replaced Rooney (101th minute) while Anderson replaced Brown (120+5 minute).

Chelsea substitutes included Cole paving way for Anelka (99th minute) and Belletti replacing Makelele (120+4th minute).

Unfortunately, the extra time was not fruitful since none of the team scored pushing the match to penalties. 

Penalty shootout

Both teams had high hopes of winning the penalties since either team boasted of a world-class goalkeeper then.

Edwin Van dar Sir (Manchester) and Chelsea’s Peter Cech were undoubtedly the best and most experienced goalkeepers in England and perhaps in the world. 

Penalty shootout extended to 7 rounds. 

Manchester United won 6 out of 7 penalties. Tevez, Carrick, Ronaldo (Missed), Hargreaves, Nani, Anderson, and Giggs scored their penalties in that order.

Incredibly, Cristiano Ronaldo was the only Manchester United player who missed a penalty despite scoring a crucial goal on the 26th minute. 

On the other hand, Chelsea managed only 5 out of the 7 penalty shootout rounds.

Ballack, Belletti, Lampard, and Cole scored the first four penalties respectively putting Chelsea in winning hopes.

Terry, the Chelsea captain, missed the fifth penalty, the reason why Chelsea fans blame him for the loss up to date.

Next online was Kalou. As a sigh of relief for Chelsea, Kalou scored the 6th penalty to make it 5 goals.

Anelka was taking the 7th penalty. He had a chance to save Terry if he scored. However, Anelka missed the sixth penalty after Van dar Sir dived and saved his shootout.

Anelka’s miss was a big relief for Manchester especially Ronaldo who had missed his penalty.

The Winner

As a result, Manchester won the 2008 Champions League final on 6-5 goals after the penalty shootout. The win was the third Champions League trophy for Manchester United and the second under Alex Furguson. 

The Verdict

As a soccer fan, who among Drogba, Terry and Anelka was responsible for Chelsea’s loss and why do you think so. Leave a comment below. 

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