"I missed my penalty and it felt like the worst day of my life. Now it's the happiest day of my life." Cristiano Ronaldo
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Forty years after their first European Cup triumph, half a century on from the Munich air crash and on the night of Ryan Giggs's club-record 759th appearance, Manchester United FC's evening, as they contested the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League final, was so nearly spoiled.
After an epic domestic campaign which saw United sneak out on top of perennial Premier League rivals Chelsea FC, this first all-English showpiece delivered its own brand of engaging encounter at a rain-soaked Luzhniki Stadium.
United were first to show their hand 26 minutes in, Cristiano Ronaldo dropping off Michael Essien and leaping majestically to head Wes Brown's cross low into the corner for his 42nd club goal of the season.
Buoyed by the effervescent Owen Hargreaves and calmed by the composed Paul Scholes, United's goal was first threatened when Rio Ferdinand inadvertently headed that way. Edwin van der Sar to the rescue.
Petr Čech was equally effective in denying Carlos Tévez, and then Michael Carrick, after a sweeping United move. Chelsea, pragmatic as ever despite José Mourinho's departure, rode the storm. They duly drew level on the stroke of half-time, Lampard poking between Van der Sar and Ferdinand after latching on to Essien's deflected shot.
Fortune favoured the Blues and momentum now appeared to be with them too; Didier Drogba struck a post with a shot as venomous as it was deceptive, but extra time was needed. Lampard was next to be frustrated by the woodwork, collecting Michael Ballack's cute pass and chipping against the bar.
Giggs, off the bench to break Sir Bobby Charlton's long-standing record, so nearly marked this poignant night with the winner, only to be thwarted by the retreating John Terry. Drogba was dismissed following an unsightly melee. Cue penalties.
Ronaldo was the odd man out after nine spot kicks, leaving Chelsea captain Terry with the chance to win his side's maiden European Cup. A loss of footing and a post left the Blues aggrieved once more. Giggs converted, Nicolas Anelka was denied and, just a stone's throw from Red Square, it was the Red Devils' night after all.