A Jon Dahl Tomasson goal a minute into added time gave AC Milan a 3-2 win against AFC Ajax at San Siro and set up an intriguing meeting with neighbours Internazionale FC in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Ajax had twice equalised, and seemed to be heading through on away goals, but Tomasson's last-gasp strike left the away side with no time to respond. Filippo Inzaghi burst clear on to a flick-on and lifted the ball over the onrushing Bogdan Lobont, and Tomasson, introduced as a late substitute, made sure, touching the ball over the line.
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti faced a number of selection problems ahead of the match, particularly in midfield, with Gennaro Gattuso suspended and Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo both ruled out for the rest of the season through injury. Cristian Brocchi and Massimo Ambrosini came into midfield, while Ajax were without Rafael van der Vaart through concussion.
Both sides looked eager to press forward in the opening exchanges, with Rui Costa and Andriy Shevchenko both shooting wide for Milan, while Wesley Sneijder and Steven Pienaar went close for Ajax.
After 23 minutes, Milan came even closer to taking the lead. Rui Costa's free-kick led to a huge goalmouth scramble, and the ball was eventually laid back to Brocchi. His low effort took a significant deflection off Petri Pasanen and seemed to have been diverted into the top left-hand corner, but Lobont reacted quickly to produce a remarkable stop, tipping the ball away.
On the half-hour, Milan did finally break through. Rui Costa's pass freed Shevchenko down the right and his deflected cross fell kindly for Inzaghi, who made no mistake, heading powerfully past Lobont from close range.
Having struggled to create chances in the first half, Ajax went close to a crucial away goal six minutes into the second period as Andy van der Meyde's cross was misjudged by Dida, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic could only direct his header wide.
On the hour, Inzaghi missed a golden chance to double Milan's advantage, heading wide when unmarked in front of goal, and it seemed that miss would be costly four minutes later, as Van der Meyde's low cross gave substitute Jari Litmanen an unmissable chance, which he duly tapped into an empty net.
However, parity lasted less than 90 seconds, as Inzaghi's cross was deflected off Pasanen and gave Shevchenko a simple header. Ajax refused to let their heads drop, and deservedly drew level 12 minutes from time, with Van der Meyde again providing the chance. His cross was flicked on by Ibrahimovic and met by Pienaar at the far post, whose first attempt was blocked but, grounded, he somehow reached the ball ahead of Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta and swept past a wrong-footed Dida.
The goal gave Ajax the advantage, and it seemed Milan's chance had gone seven minutes from time as Shevchenko burst clear, but his shot was blocked by Lobont's leg, only for Tomasson's dramatic late intervention.