BV Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Milan AC
A first-half Marcio Amoroso hat-trick provided the foundation for BV Borussia Dortmund's convincing win over a lacklustre Milan AC side in this UEFA Cup semi-final first leg at the Westfalenstadion.
On this performance, and with Tomáš Rosicky pulling the strings in the way he did tonight, it is hard to see how Milan will be able to retrieve this deficit in a week's time in the San Siro. Dortmund could easily be forgiven if they went ahead and booked their hotel rooms in Rotterdam, where the final will take place on 8 May.
"Amoroso became our absolute winner and he put his mark on the game," said Matthias Sammer, the Dortmund coach, afterwards. "We're in a very good position now which does not necessarily mean that it is enough. My team has done something extraordinary and it was visible from the first minute that the players wanted to perform extraordinarily."
Made in Italy
In many ways Dortmund's victory was made in Italy. Sammer during his playing career featured for Milan's city rivals, Internazionale FC, and several of Dortmund's key players have played in Serie A in the past. Amoroso, who before joining the German club for €25.35m played for Udinese Calcio and Parma AC, claimed his three goals in little over half an hour. The 1. Bundesliga's top scorer has now scored seven goals in Europe this season.
Lehmann gains revenge
Dortmund were happy to sit back after that, but on one of their few lone second-half forays, Jörg Heinrich, who also played in Italy with AC Fiorentina, added a fourth. The evening also proved hugely satisfying for the Dortmund goalkeeper, Jans Lehmann. He spent an unhappy year with Milan in 1998, but with the Italian side missing the injured Andriy Shevchenko he was infrequently tested.
Milan came close in the first half when Andrea Pirlo's inswinging free-kick hit the post after coming through a packed penalty area, and in the game's closing minutes Serginho fired his shot wide with just Lehmann to beat. Meagre scraps on a miserable night for the Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was at a loss to explain why his team had underperformed, but who defended his decision not to start with Portuguese playmaker Rui Costa.
"We were not surprised by Dortmund," said Ancelotti. "We knew they had quick strikers. I am more surprised by the terrible performance of our team. The problem stemmed from the wings. I had no reason to change the team because Rui Costa has not trained for ten days. It will be very difficult but it is our duty to give it our best and to try and qualify."
The Italians never recovered from falling behind to an eighth-minute penalty, after Cosmin Contra fouled Amoroso. The Brazilian, who checked his run-up to send Christian Abbiati the wrong way, made no mistake from the spot. On 34 minutes Amoroso doubled Dortmund's advantage with the best goal of the evening. Jan Koller and Rosicky combined cleverly to create the chance but Amoroso still had plenty to do when he received the ball. No matter as he flicked the ball over Martin Laursen's head before volleying past Abbiati. Five minutes later Amoroso completed his hat-trick when he sent a diving header past the Milan goalkeeper from Ewerthon's cross.
It was Ewerthon who created Heinrich's goal, surging down the left before toe-poking the ball across the box. His pass went through Abbiati's legs leaving Heinrich the easiest of tasks to tap home and complete the rout.