Clarence Seedorf was left to reflect on a "special day" after scoring one and setting up the other as AC Milan beat FC Bayern München 2-0 to seal a UEFA Champions League semi-final date with Manchester United FC in a rematch of a knockout tie from two years ago.
'One step closer'
"We are one step closer to Athens," a beaming Seedorf declared. "There are still two matches to play, but Manchester United should certainly recall Milan from a couple of years ago!" Then, in the last 16, the Rossoneri triumphed 1-0 in both legs to continue a run that would take them all the way to the final before they came unstuck against another English team, Liverpool FC, in a thrilling match. With the Reds also through, an identical showpiece is in the offing.
The referee in Istanbul two years ago, Manuel Mejuto González, was on duty again at the Fußball Arena München last night. Yet this time there was to be a happy ending for Milan, and especially for Seedorf. "I have had a tricky period and felt I was due a good performance. I am just delighted it happened here," said the 31-year-old midfielder, who holds the distinguished record of being the only man to win the European Champion Clubs' Cup with three different clubs. "I am pleased with my goal, it was a nice one, and then I managed to set up the second. This is a very special day for me.
"Bayern put us under a lot of pressure early on but we broke the deadlock with our first real opportunity and it changed the game," he added. "After that we were very clever in containing them, however much they continued to push forward." As Bayern pressed, Milan reverted to defensive mode, with Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso all dropping back to buffer a defence that will need to be at its best to resist United following their 7-1 win against AS Roma - not that Alessandro Nesta is concerned. "
We're not scared of Manchester United," he said. "They are a good team, but we have beaten them in the past - why not again?"
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