Player: Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München)
Neuer conceded six for FC Schalke 04 in last season's semi-final defeat by Manchester United FC. His second bite of the cherry proved an altogether happier affair, though, as the German international became Bayern's saviour at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Though sent the wrong way by Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty in regulation time, the 26-year-old brilliantly saved the same player's attempt in the shoot-out, and then denied Kaká in similar fashion. "I chose the right corner twice but the reality is you never know which side your opponent will aim for," he said. Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes begged to differ. "Neuer was fantastic," he said. "He saved two penalties and steered the third one over with his eyes."
Team: Chelsea FC
Roberto Di Matteo had said his side would need two perfect displays to overcome FC Barcelona. Though they rode their luck at the Camp Nou, their achievement in overcoming the holders was a triumph of character and determination. Two goals and a man down following John Terry's first-half dismissal, the Blues clung on to the lifeline of Ramires's lob, before makeshift left-back Fernando Torres raced clear to book his side's place in the Munich showpiece with an added-time goal.
Goal: Ramires (Chelsea FC)
When Ramires was shown a yellow card in the 44th minute of Chelsea's semi-final second leg against Barcelona he knew the caution would cost him a place in the showpiece should his side get that far. The Brazilian international responded in the best possible way, scoring within two minutes. Racing on to Frank Lampard's defence-splitting pass, he lifted a sumptuous lob over Victor Valdés to level the tie on aggregate and provide the platform for a momentous victory.
Marco Borriello's first goal for Juventus earned the Bianconeri a 1-0 success against AC Cesena which preserved their three-point lead atop Serie A. The victory also enabled La Vecchia Signora to equal AC Milan's record run of 34 unbeaten games in a single season, achieved by Fabio Capello's side in the 1991/92 campaign.
"Trying to reach a UEFA Champions League final by taking a penalty represents immense pressure, but personally I have always been OK with that. If I had to take another penalty in the same situation tomorrow I would."
Real Madrid CF defender Sergio Ramos has no regrets after a penalty miss that all but sealed his side's semi-final fate.
Islam all the rage in Scotland
Islam Feruz became the youngest player to appear for Scotland Under-21s in Wednesday's friendly against Italy. Aged 16 years and 197 days, the striker broke the record previously held by Christian Dailly when he came on as a second-half substitute at Easter Road. Feruz, however, was unable to prevent his side from losing 4-1.
Czech out the beer
If the Czech Republic have a successful UEFA EURO 2012 campaign they know who will be providing the drinks. Jiří Štajner, Milan Petržela, David Limberský, Theodor Gebre Selassie and David Lafata visited a brewery in Plzen this week where they lent a hand in making the famous Gambrinus beer that should be ready in time for the summer. "I hope our supporters will get to raise their glasses many times to celebrate our goals and wins," said Lafata.
Play it again, Sam
A Hibernian FC fan is praying his team can finally reward him for over 60 years of support by lifting the Scottish Cup next month. Sam Martínez, 102, is the oldest member of the Hibernian Supporters Association and is hoping his beloved Hibees can end their cup final hoodoo by beating rivals Heart of Midlothian FC on 19 May. The last time Hibs hoisted the trophy aloft was in 1902, eight years before he was born.
"I'm so glad I'm alive to see this happen but it could be my last chance to see them lift the cup," said the former soldier, who moved to Scotland from Belize in 1942. "I've been to a few Scottish Cup finals over the years and Hibs have been well beaten every time. It's going to be a difficult game. Even Hibs' greatest team, the Famous Five, found it difficult to beat Hearts."
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