Milan AC 3-1 BV Borussia Dortmund (Agg: 3-5) Dortmund ended Milan's comeback hopes.
Milan AC 3-1 BV Borussia Dortmund (Agg: 3-5)
BV Borussia Dortmund reached the final of the UEFA Cup with a 5-3 aggregate defeat of Milan AC but were made to suffer as they lost 3-1 at the San Siro stadium in the second leg of a thrilling semi-final.
The German side, UEFA Champions League winners in 1997, amassed what looked an unassailable 4-0 advantage from the first leg, but their lead was halved inside 20 minutes as Filippo Inzaghi and Cosmin Contra both struck following a blistering start to the game.
Made to sweat
Milan had several chances to close the deficit further but it was not until the final minute that the Serie A outfit really made Dortmund sweat when Serginho converted a penalty to bring them within a goal of taking the game into extra time. But Dortmund's nerves eased when substitute Lars Ricken struck in added time to ensure a place in the 8 May final against Feyenoord.
The visitors were served notice of Milan's intent in the first minute when Serginho fired just wide with a shot that deflected off Contra. Milan then got the early goal they craved in the eleventh minute when Andriy Shevchenko, back in the side after a month out of action, put Serginho away down the left and the Brazilian's pinpoint cross was headed in at the back post by Inzaghi.
Contra on target
Eight minutes later and Milan had reduced the aggregate deficit to just two goals when a free-kick from Andrea Pirlo was punched out by the Dortmund goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann, but fell straight at the feet of Romanian international Contra who drilled the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Dortmund were visibly stunned and it was not until the 25th minute that they were able to pose any sort of threat to the Milan defence when Tomáš Rosicky fired a long-range shot just over the bar. Milan were given a reminder that just a single goal for Dortmund would be enough to kill the game when Marcio Amoroso, hat-trick hero in the first leg and a former top scorer in Serie A, flung himself at a cross from Jörg Heinrich but his header looped over the bar.
The second half would have been a formality for Dortmund had Amoroso not wasted a glorious chance straight after the restart, blasting over when found, unmarked, at the back post. Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti brought on strikers José Mari Romero and Marco Simone as time began to run out and that inevitably left gaps at the back and it took a superb last ditch sliding tackle from Martin Laursen to stop a determined Amoroso.
Seven minutes from the end and Pirlo had a chance to really shake Dortmund but his side-footed shot was saved expertly by Lehmann. In the final minute the 1. Bundesliga side were given a real shock when Inzaghi was ajudged to have been pulled back by Christoph Metzelder and Serginho slotted in the penalty.
But there was no desperately late siege of the Dortmund goal as straight away they regained comfort when Ricken's shot on the turn beat Christian Abbiati to ensure Matthias Sammer's side a place in the final. Dortmund now have a chance to join an elite band of clubs who have won all the major European trophies after they lifted the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in the season prior to being crowned European champions.