What Andriy Shevchenko said to Jerzy Dudek after *that* save in CL finalby Metro Sport Reporter
On the anniversary of Liverpool’s famous night in Istanbul, it’s often Steven Gerrard or Dietmar Hamann that are given the plaudits for their role in the amazing comeback.
The Reds were, after all, 3-0 down at half-time and it took comeback of biblical proportions for them to get their hands on the trophy for a fifth time.
It started with a phenomenal header from Steven Gerrard, before a spill from Dida from Vladimír Smicer reduced the deficit to one goal.
Xabi Alonso eventually equalised from the penalty spot and before AC Milan knew it their three-goal lead was gone.
But what’s often glossed over is the way the Italians fought their way back into the match and how it took one of the most remarkable saves in history from Jerzy Dudek to keep Liverpool in it.
As the game went into extra-time, it was Milan that looked the most likely to grab a winner and Dudek pulled off a smart save to deny Shevchenko from a header.
However, the deadly Ukrainian pounced on the rebound and it looked for all the world that he’d put his side back in front.
But, much to the confusion of fans around the world, Dudek managed to divert the shot from close range over the bar and the Polish goalkeeper’s bemused expression afterwards said it all.
Shevchenko simply couldn’t believe the shot had been saved and Dudek’s revealed on the 15th anniversary of the game what Shevchenko said to him afterwards.
‘It took Andriy Shevchenko two years to pluck up the courage and ask me,’ Dudek told Goal.
‘We were in Cardiff, working together as part of the joint bid of Poland and Ukraine to host Euro 2012. We had got to know each other quite well during the campaign, and that day Sheva finally popped the question.
‘F*****G hell Jerzy, you can tell me now – how DID you make that save in extra time?
‘I smiled at him. “Don’t worry, mate,” I told him. “You had your five minutes against Juventus in 2003, and I had my five minutes in Istanbul!”
‘The truth is, I can’t explain how I saved it. It is one of those split-second things, where you rely on instinct, reflexes and, of course, a little bit of luck as well.
‘Do you know, for a long time after the final I thought that the initial header was from Jon Dahl Tomasson? I knew there had been two Milan players free in the box, but after that it was just a blur.
When I watched it back, I saw that Sheva had headed the first ball and then the rebound, and I think that was what gave me the chance to save it.
‘He wanted to put all the power into it, and I was able just to get my hands in the way. I never saw a ball fly so high in the air, and when it landed on the roof of the net, I said to myself, “F*ck me, we needed that’.