Mixed emotions from Manchester
30.5 || Seamus
The morning after the night before, and you could be forgiven for still wondering what it will take to separate AC Milan and Juventus FC, the UEFA Champions League finalists who slugged it out for 120 minutes at Old Trafford without producing a goal.
Hero of Manchester
The Gazzetta dello Sport has the answer: "Penalty takers in Serginho, [Alessandro] Nesta and [Andriy] Shevchenko, plus Dida, the hero of Manchester." Goalkeeper Dida made saves from David Trezeguet, Marcelo Zalayeta and Paolo Montero to hand Milan a 3-2 shoot-out victory - and a sixth European Champion Clubs' Cup.
The Brazilian, the Gazzetta noted, may struggle to talk in Italian but his smile spoke volumes as he said: "I tried not to move too much because in these situations the ball tends to go towards the centre of the goal. I did well and I am happy."
Man of the match
No less impressed were the rival Il Giornale and Corriere della Sera newspapers who made Dida their man of the match. But that accolade had to be shared between the custodian and team-mate Shevchenko, scorer of the winning penalty, in the Corriere dello Sport, Tuttosport and La Repubblica.
Milan kings of Europe, Juve bowed
Corriere della Sera
Kings of Europe
By contrast, Gianluigi Buffon cut "a disconsolate figure", the Gazzetta said. "They had more penalty takers in their five and they were a bit more accurate than we were," the Juve No1 remarked. The result, as expressed on the front-page headline of the Corriere della Sera: "Milan kings of Europe, Juve bowed".
According to La Stampa, however, this was no glory night for the Italian game. "It was the match we feared," the paper said. "It needed an early goal but the referee disallowed [Shevchenko's effort] for offside."
Ancelotti the winner
And with Juventus missing first the suspended Nedved, then the injured Edgar Davids, it came down to the dreaded lottery - "eleven metres divided the champions of Europe from the champions of Italy". "Carlo Ancelotti," the Turin-based paper continued, "is no longer second best. He beat Lippi, without exactly beating him, but that's life."
So Ancelotti shed his loser's tag, but it was not enough to win over an unsympathetic Spanish audience. "In England, the cradle of the game, the two Italian sides participated in a crime against football," wrote AS. Meanwhile, Marca said that "an acceptable first half segued into a forgettable second half", before an extra-time period that "was unbearable".
On the defence
The English Daily Telegraph was more generous in its appraisal. "A goalless but far from soulless Champions League final was eventually won by Milan on penalties at Old Trafford last night," it wrote. "Such had been the exceptional quality of defending that two hours elapsed without these Italian rivals being separated, so leaving the game to be settled by spot-kicks." Milan fans couldn't care either way.
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