"To play the way we did in the first half is a dream for a coach – it was perfect football." Carlo Ancelotti
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Clinical, shrewd and dynamic, AC Milan shrugged off Manchester United FC's 3-2 first-leg advantage in emphatic fashion, winning 3-0 at San Siro to book a second final meeting in three years with Liverpool FC.
United had trailed AS Roma 2-1 after the opening instalment of their quarter-final tie, only to outclass the Giallorossi 7-1 back at Old Trafford. In the last four, though, the boot was firmly on the other foot. Carlo Ancelotti's Milan oozed style in the Italian capital of fashion, their visitors were mere observers throughout.
The Rossoneri set about overturning United's lead in a manner which suggested they were seeking to match their opponents' feats of the previous round. Scorer of both their goals in the first leg, Kaká was once again the star of the show. The Brazil forward took little time to show up Nemanja Vidić – restored to United's depleted defence after more than a month out – ghosting past the centre-back before flashing a cross-shot narrowly wide.
Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf tested compatriot Edwin van der Sar from range and Sir Alex Ferguson's charges appeared overawed – inside 11 minutes they were behind. Seedorf met a long ball forward with a cute back header which Kaká allowed to bounce once before drilling into the bottom corner.
Provider that time, the Netherlands midfielder was equally accurate from the edge of the penalty area on the half-hour. Though Seedorf's finish did the damage, it was Gabriel Heinze's risky pass and Vidić's subsequent slip which was the catalyst for a devilish Andrea Pirlo cross.
Brimming with creative menace and consolidated by wise heads in midfield, Milan never looked in danger thereafter. Massimo Ambrosini epitomised their wily approach, but it was the Italian international's more rakish side which created the hosts' third with 12 minutes remaining.
Ambrosini's delightful pass from inside his own half located Alberto Gilardino, stationed at the heart of a gaping hole in United's defence. He raced clear, opened up his body and caressed the ball beyond Van der Sar. An elegant goal to cap a forceful performance.
"It was an evening of dreams," said Carlo Ancelotti. "To play the way we did in the first half is a dream for a coach – it was perfect football."