In the midst of Champions League era dominated by English sides, Manchester United and Chelsea contested a memorable final in Moscow in May 2008.
It was the first ever all English Champions League final, the first to be played in Russia and only the third final contested by clubs from the same country.
In the pouring Moscow rain it was United who made the better start and they took the lead on 26 minutes. Wes Brown controlled Paul Scholes’ pass and whipped the ball in for Cristiano Ronaldo to nod past a stranded Petr Cech.
United could have doubled their advantage but Cech made two reaction saves from Carlos Tevez and then Michael Carrick. Chelsea were hanging on but suddenly found themselves level just before half time. Michael Essien’s shot took a deflection and fell into the path of Frank Lampard who swept past a stranded Edwin van Der Sar.
Chelsea, boosted by that equaliser, began the second half the better side and had the best chance of the half when Didier Drogba’s low shot smacked against the post in the 77th minute. The Ivorian also fired just wide from Joe Cole’s cross a few minutes later. Despite their efforts though the game went into extra time.
The frenetic pace – synonymous with the Premier League – continued with both sides creating chances. United had a header cleared off the line by John Terry, then Frank Lampard struck the underside of the crossbar. Tensions boiled late on when a Didier Drogba slap on Nemanja Vidic started a 20 man brawl. Drogba was shown the red card to become only the second player in Champions League history to be sent off in the final. But despite all the drama the sides couldn’t be separated and penalties had to be used to find a winner. It would end up being another one of United’s dramatic Champions League specials.
In the pouring rain Cristiano Ronaldo unusually missed with Chelsea winning 2-1 in the shoot-out. When everyone else scored it was up to John Terry to seal victory for the Blues and most people would have put a hefty Champions League bet on him doing so.
But the Chelsea skipper slipped as he took his spot kick and hit the post. Terry was distraught and he was made to pay for his miss a few moments later when Nicolas Anelka saw his kick saved by Van Der Sar to seal a third European Cup for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.
Terry’s tears was one of the images of the night as was Rio Ferdinand lifting the trophy after yet another dramatic United win.