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Liverpool win nine-goal epic with golden goal

Liverpool FC 5-4 Deportivo Alavés
The Reds edged an incredible final against Spanish surprise package Alavés with a golden goal right at the end.

Liverpool win nine-goal epic with golden goal
Liverpool win nine-goal epic with golden goal ©UEFA.com

The unfortunate Delfí Geli headed into his own net to give Liverpool FC a golden-goal winner in an epic UEFA Cup final.

Deportivo Alavés, who had two players sent off in extra time, had come from 2-0 and 3-1 down to level at 3-3, and again equalised in the final minute of normal time to make it 4-4. But Geli's cruel luck finally ended their remarkable UEFA Cup odyssey.

Liverpool became the third team, after Juventus and FC Internazionale Milano, to win the trophy three times, the Reds starting with intent and Michael Owen headed off target in the first minute. Soon after, Gary McAllister sent in a trademark delivery from a free-kick for Markus Babbel to head the opener.

Óscar Téllez forced a fine save from Sander Westerveld with a superb shot, but on 16 minutes it was 2-0 as Dietmar Hamann fed Owen, who waited and weighed his pass perfectly for Steven Gerrard to shoot in.

Alavés coach José Manuel Esnal sacrificed defender Dan Eggen for Uruguayan attacker Iván Alonso, and just four minutes later Alonso climbed above Babbel at the far post to head in Ivan Tomić's right-wing cross. Westerveld then had to be alert to save from Téllez and Javi Moreno.

Liverpool weathered that storm and late in the half Owen was tripped by Martín Herrera as he attempted to go around the goalkeeper; McAllister made no mistake from the resultant penalty.

Within three minutes of the restart, Cosmin Contra twisted and turned on the right before crossing for Moreno, who headed firmly past Westerveld. And the big striker swiftly levelled when his free-kick flew through a thicket of legs and past the goalkeeper.

Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier sent on Vladimír Šmicer and Robbie Fowler, and the latter made his mark 17 minutes from time with a fine right-footed shot.

But the absorbing encounter was to have yet another twist as Jordi Cruyff attacked an inswinging corner at the near post, connecting perfectly to send the tie into extra time.

Magno Mocelin was sent off nine minutes into the extra half-hour for a second bookable offence, and after captain Antonio Karmona followed him off, Geli inadvertently turned in McAllister's crossed free-kick to score the first ever golden goal in a UEFA club final.