AC Milan 3 Man Utd 0. Milan wins on aggregate, 5-3.
If Man Utd is the best England has to offer then English football has a ways to go before it can catch up with the best of Europe. Man Utd is an overachieving team and has done magnificently well this season but their limitations were thoroughly exposed in this series with Milan. Come to think of it, Milan only lost the first leg because they took the pedal off and Dida made some terrible blunders. Not so in the return leg. Dida was rock solid and the injection of Gattuso made all the difference as he reduced Ronaldo into a petulant mess.
The Milan midfield purred smoothly and took advantage of a patchwork Man Utd defense that gave away the two opening goals. Seedorf's clever little flick with his head put the ball in Kaka's path who buried the volley into the far right hand corner past an onlooking Van Der Saar. Sublime.
Wes Brown looked like he had gotten out of the wrong side of the bed and Vidic was clearly not match fit. Heinze's momentary lapse of reason started a comedy of errors that saw Seedorf bury his shot in the back of the net for Milan's second goal. Ronaldo had to come back to help the beleaguered back four with some timely tackles. He had to defend a rampaging Massimo Oddo, Milan's right back who loves attacking down the right flank.
Even when the Man Utd midfield kept the occasionally lackadaisical Milan defense backpedaling in the second half, they rarely looked threatening. Man Utd could not get enough space to get clean shots off and when they did their timing was off. I must have counted at least ten shots that carromed of Milan defenders or were hit out. Rooney turned provider as Fletcher missed an absolute sitter. Giggs disappeared and Scholes was reduced to patrolling the half line.
Gattuso was the man of the match. He kept Ronaldo off his stride throughout the match. He was the Rossoneri's emotional leader. He looked like he was going to tear out Ronaldo's heart and have it for dinner. And he probably reminded Sir Alex of the days when tough blue collared players like Roy Keane and Denis Irwin ruled Man Utd. That was the last time Man Utd won the Champions Cup.
Match report >>