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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 18:22 GMT 19:22 UK
Owen Hargreaves column
Steven Gerrard could fire Liverpool into the Champions League final
By Owen Hargreaves
England and Bayern Munich midfielder


First of all, I want to say that the first leg in this tie was absolutely brilliant.

Everyone I spoke to afterwards was just amazed by what a fabulous game it was. It was so competitive, both teams took the lead, there were loads of chances, just everything you want from football.

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti (left) and Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson (right) wants to reach a second Champions League final

Kaka scored two breathtaking goals and then Wayne Rooney and United played magnificently in the second half to turn the game around.

It was just a great match, a very, very high standard of football and a great advert for the Champions League when a lot of people around Europe were watching.

Credit to United to turn it around against an experienced side like Milan when the game was getting away from them but it was a great response and they deserved to win.

Having said that, Milan have put themselves in a fantastic position, with the two away goals - like Bayern Munich did when we played Real Madrid in the first knockout stage.

The away goals that Kaka scored are undoubtedly important but they must be very careful against the pace of the United attack.

This is a team that scored four times away from home at Everton on Saturday and I think they will score in Milan.

The best players in the first leg were the younger guys, which is great for football's future

Again, the first goal is so important. If Milan score first then United must open up and the Italians will be able to play their counter-attacking football.

It will be extremely interesting and whoever does get on the scoresheet first will be able to force the issue.

At Old Trafford, Milan suffered a bit when Gennaro Gattuso and Paolo Maldini both limped off injured because up until then they had looked relatively comfortable.

It disrupted their flow and United really began to control the game and create chances afterwards.

I cannot wait to watch the game. Both teams like to get forward and attack and when you have got players of this quality on both sides it is great for football.

The best players in the first leg were the younger ones, too, which is great for the future of the game.

Owen's prediction: This is even closer than the other one and luckily I'm not a betting man anyway. I think you would struggle to make either the favourite.


As a combative midfielder, and therefore the victim of play-acting following a strong challenge, what do you think needs to be done to stop players play-acting and diving?
John Cutler, UK

I think it has to start with the way you are brought up. If I had done that as a kid my dad would have had a real go at me, so that was never the sort of person I wanted to portray myself as.

I think of it as a kind of weakness. If you have all the ability in the world then why do you need to go down? If you can get past people you do not need those things.

I appreciate the English style of playing and how honest it is. Personally, I could not dive to save my life anyway!

Hi Owen, who do you think is the best coach in the world right now?
Ehab Zahran, Egypt

You would have to go with the people who are having the most success, so Jose Mourinho, Rafael Benitez, Sir Alex Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti.

I think there are some wonderful managers operating at the moment.

Look at Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona. He has done a fantastic job and all the players seem so happy playing for him.

Hi Owen, who is the most under-rated footballer you have come across?
Andrew, New Zealand

That is a really good question. I'm going to go for Paul Scholes, I think he is under-rated.

For me, he is just brilliant. And he is a lovely bloke into the bargain.

Hi Owen. I'm a big fan of yours and follow all of Bayern Munich's results. I was wondering if any of your team-mates read this column?
George Gray, England

Oh I doubt it, I can't imagine that they would want to know what I'm saying!

Maybe some of them are interested, but I would have thought they would all be surfing the web on their local websites from Brazil or Holland or wherever they are from.

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