On this day: AC Milan exact Champions League revenge over Liverpool

On this day in 2007, AC Milan earned their revenge over Liverpool with a 2-1 win in the Champions League final.

The 2005 Champions League final was one of the most exciting in living memory. In the first half, it looked as though AC Milan would romp to the trophy as they took a 3-0 win over Liverpool, but a sterling comeback and ultimate penalty victory gave Liverpool a surprise, but well-earned, Champions League title.

Two years later, on this day in 2007, the two sides clashed yet again in the final, with the Italian outfit keen for revenge for having their trophy snatched away the last time they met. It was to be a close encounter again, this time in Athens, as Milan were desperate to put the disappointment behind them in order to claim their seventh European gong.

Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard of Liverpool prepare to re-start following the the first goal by Milan during the UEFA Champions League Final match on May 23, 2007© Getty Images

Rafael Benitez, who was also Liverpool manager two years before for their victorious game in Istanbul, had Milan's attacking threat in the back of his mind, such was the damage his side were caused in the first half that night. He decided to name just one striker, Dirk Kuyt, with captain Steven Gerrard moved into the hole in support of him. The dangerous Jermaine Pennant on the right wing caused the first threat of the game, forcing Dida into a diving stop after just nine minutes.

The Spanish manager's tactic worked well in the first half as his side were able to disrupt Milan's flow. Kaka was anonymous for some 20 minutes until he had a minor sight on goal, with his shot not good enough to beat Pepe Reina.

Milan were not defending well and Xabi Alonso was inches away from breaking the deadlock with a fizzing drive from an angle going narrowly wide. The Reds, on top of the game so far, were to go in behind with a goal just before the break.

Alonso was guilty of a needless foul on Kaka just outside the box, and Milan's set piece specialist Andrea Pirlo stepped up. The ball went in, but more by luck than judgement, as the Italian's free kick deflected past the wrong-footed Reina by Filippo Inzaghi, who claimed a true poacher's goal of the sort than only he was capable of throughout his career.

Filippo Inzaghi (R #9) of Milan deflects the ball into the net to score the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Final match on May 23, 2007© Getty Images

The Reds had come back from three down two years ago against seven of the 11 Milan players, so their current deficit was not disastrous. They continued to play well with Gerrard, rather than Pennant, their most threatening player once the second 45 minutes got back underway. He showed good skill to glide into the box on 61 minutes past Alessandro Nesta, but his composure let him down when in on goal as he shot tamely at Dida.

That Liverpool chance served as a wake-up call to Milan and they tightened up over the next 15 to 20 minutes, with their defence well protected by the holding pair of Gennaro Gattuso and Massimo Ambrosini. With the Gerrard chance Liverpool's last genuine effort, Milan doubled their lead with just 13 minutes left to play. Kaka threaded through Inzaghi for his second; the Milan striker had not done much at all yet had two Champions League final goals to his name.

A glimmer of hope of another comeback arrived with a minute of normal time left as Kuyt nodded in a flick-on from Daniel Agger, but it was not to be this time as Milan managed to gain their revenge over the Merseyside outfit. It was Milan's night and it was European Cup number seven.

AC Milan's team poses with the trophy after winning the Champions League football match against Liverpool at the Olympic Stadium, in Athens, 23 May 2007© Getty Images

Liverpool's Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt scores the winning penalty past Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech to win the European Champions League semi final second leg football match at Anfield, Liverpool, north west England, 01 May 2007
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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