Milan masters Inter
Champions League semifinal decided by 'away-goals' rulePosted: Tuesday May 13, 2003 4:42 PM
Updated: Tuesday May 13, 2003 6:12 PM
MILAN, Italy (AP) -- Andriy Shevchenko scored the decisive goal in first-half injury time Tuesday as AC Milan advanced to the Champions Cup final on away goals after drawing 1-1 with crosstown rival Inter Milan in the second leg of the semifinals.
Clarence Seedorf sent the ball through to the Ukrainian striker, who managed to finish despite tough defense from Inter's Ivan Cordoba and goalkeeper Francesco Toldo. It was Shevchenko's fourth European goal this season.
"I kicked into the net while falling because Cordoba fouled me from behind ... it could have been a penalty," Shevchenko said.
Obafemi Martins, a 20-year-old Nigerian, equalized for Inter in the 84th minute taking advantage of a defensive mishap from Milan captain Paolo Maldini.
Martins' goal, his second in the Champions League this season, was followed by multiple handsprings and revived Inter's qualifying hopes while shocking AC Milan.
Inter's Mohamed Kallon nearly got the winner in the 87th as the hosts relentlessly attacked in the closing minutes.
Kallon was quick to control a rebound but goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, a last-minute substitute of Brazilian Dida, managed to deflect the Sierra Leone forward's diagonal shot.
Abbiati also saved on a short-range header by Colombian defender Cordoba two minutes later.
Last week, the teams drew 0-0 in the first leg in the same stadium. In the Serie A this season, Milan defeated Inter twice. Both AC Milan and Inter play their home matches at the San Siro.
"Now I'm looking forward to the final with great confidence," Shevchenko said. "In a final all opponents are tough. Tonight's match was a hard-fought Derby, a real battle. We deserved qualification."
AC Milan will play either Juventus or Real Madrid in the Champions Cup final, which is scheduled for May 28 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. Defending champion Real Madrid beat Juve 2-1 in the first leg. The second leg is set for Wednesday in Turin, Italy.
Milan, a five-time Champions Cup winner, will be playing in its ninth final. It last won the European title in 1994. Inter won the Champions Cup in 1964 and 1965.
The much-anticipated "Euroderby" produced a lot of tension, tackles and few scoring chances.
Shevchenko, coming off a less than impressive season with five goals in league matches, took advantage of the only first-half scoring chance of the "visiting" team.
Martins and Kallon, fielded in the second half as substitutes of unimpressive Hernan Crespo and Alvaro Recoba, at least made Inter's actions quicker and more dangerous.
"Unfortunately our draw came too late," Inter defender Fabio Cannavaro said. "In the first half we did not press properly and Milan was able to control play. We have some regret for missing the qualifying goal in the closing minutes."
On an injury-time corner kick 'keeper Toldo rushed into Milan's area, hoping to repeat his feat in a Serie A match this season when he helped Christian Vieri score the equalizer in the dying seconds. This time it did not work and the Milan defense cleared.
Vieri, Inter's leading scorer with 24 goals, was sidelined with a knee injury and missed both semifinal legs. He helplessly followed the match sitting on the grass near the substitutes bench.
Milan players made a parade "lap" around the field at the end of the match and threw some of their jerseys into the section hosting AC Milan fans.
On the losing side several Inter players, including Argentine captain Javier Zanetti, Martins and Cordoba, broke into tears.
"It's bitter to miss the Champions final following a draw. We also deserved the final. It hurts to be eliminated this way," Zanetti said.
Premier Silvio Berlusconi, AC Milan's owner-president, supported his team from the stands and called Shevchenko's goal "very, very beautiful."
For Inter's Argentine coach Hector Cuper, who missed the Champions Cup final after losing the Serie A title to Juventus, soccer circles were expecting tough times, if not dismissal.
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was critical of the rumors about the likely dismissal of the losing coach, which marred the eve of the match.
"I'm happy for this achievement but I'm bitter about the rumors. I'm sorry that Cuper will be under pressure. He could have reached the final and I could have been in his shoes now," Ancelotti said.
Thousands of Milan fans paraded in downtown, playing horns and waving flags with the red-and-black colors of the team to celebrate. Many gathered in the Duomo square, the heart of the city.
On Tuesday, Maldini played against Inter for the 45th time, breaking the "derby" record set by Inter's Giuseppe Bergomi.
The last time two teams from the same city played each other in the Champions Cup semifinals was 1959 when Real Madrid took on Atletico de Madrid. Real Madrid went on to win the final.
Inter Milan 1 AC Milan 1 - result
Champions League semi-final, second leg
First leg 0-0. Aggregate result 1-1.
AC Milan win on away goals rule.
Inter Milan - Obafemi Martins 83
AC Milan - Andriy Shevchenko 45+1
Halftime: 0-1; Attendance: 76,854
Inter: 1-Francesco Toldo; 4-Javier Zanetti, 13-Fabio Cannavaro, 23-Marco Materazzi, 2-Ivan Cordoba; 7-Sergio Conceicao, 14-Luigi Di Biagio (18-Stephane Dalmat 46), 6-Cristiano Zanetti, 5-Belozoglu Emre; 9-Hernan Crespo (3-Mohammed Kallon 71), 20-Alvaro Recoba (30-Obafemi Martins 46)
Milan: 18-Christian Abbiati; 19-Alessandro Costacurta, 13-Alessandro Nesta, 3-Paolo Maldini, 4-Kakha Kaladze; 8-Gennaro Gattuso, 21-Andrea Pirlo (32-Cristian Brocchi 89), 20-Clarence Seedorf; 10-Rui Costa (23-Massimo Ambrosini 64); 7-Andriy Shevchenko, 9-Filippo Inzaghi (27-Serginho 80).
Referee: Gilles Veissiere (France)