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Milan in way of all-English final
April 30, 2007 18:16 IST
AC Milan stand in the way of a first all-English Champions League final when they seek to overturn a 3-2 deficit against Manchester United at the San Siro on Wednesday.
By the time they do battle, the latest round in the long-running battle between Liverpool and Chelsea will have been settled at Anfield, where Liverpool need to come from 1-0 down if they are to repeat their 2005 last-four success against the Londoners.
That year, Liverpool went on to win Europe's most prestigious trophy for the fifth time, beating Milan on penalties after coming back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3.
Milan are seeking the trophy for the seventh time - only Real Madrid with nine have more. United are chasing a third while Chelsea have never before reached the final.
Last week's two first leg matches were in marked contrast and neutrals will hope to see more of what took place at Old Trafford and pray for no repeat of the largely uninspired Stamford Bridge fare.
Manchester United ripped into Milan and took an early lead only for Kaka to show his class with two hugely important goals.
United, however, surged back to equalise and, with the stadium rocking, snatched a last-gasp winner through Wayne Rooney who seems to have rediscovered his best form at exactly the right moment.
The England striker also grabbed the key third on Saturday as United came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 at Everton and virtually secure the Premier League title.
Milan, who also warmed up with a win on Saturday when they edged Torino 1-0 away, are pondering starting with Filippo Inzaghi against United, knowing a 1-0 win will be enough to progress.
The experienced striker was on target against United for Juventus in the 1999 semi-final when the English side came back from 3-1 down to go through en route to their treble.
Chelsea's hopes of going one better with a quadruple look slim after their 2-2 draw with Bolton Wanderers left them five points adrift of United in the Premier League with three games remaining.
The Champions League, however, remains the number one target of manager Jose Mourinho, who renews his rivalry with Rafael Benitez on Wednesday when the teams go into their 14th competitive meeting in three years.
Liverpool were fortunate to escape with a 1-0 defeat from a tactical, but largely sterile first leg but while Chelsea were running themselves into the ground against Bolton on Saturday, Benitez was able to rest most of his first team from the 2-1 league defeat at Portsmouth.
UEFA Champions League 2006-07: The Complete Coverage