Man Utd won Europe's top club trophy for the third time
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea Man Utd win 6-5 on penalties
By Phil McNulty
Manchester United won the Champions League by beating Chelsea 6-5 on penalties after a dramatic 1-1 draw.
Cristiano Ronaldo headed United in front after 26 minutes but Frank Lampard equalised before the interval.
Lampard and Didier Drogba hit the woodwork before the striker saw red in extra time for slapping Nemanja Vidic.
Ronaldo missed his penalty, but John Terry hit the post with a kick that would have won it for Chelsea and Edwin van der Sar saved from Nicolas Anelka.
It sparked wild celebrations for Sir Alex Ferguson and his players in the Moscow rain as United won Europe's elite trophy for the third time, a triumph made more poignant as it came 50 years on from the Munich air crash.
Ferguson had made it his mission to take the trophy back to Manchester this year in memory of those who died, and those who survived, in the tragedy in Munich in February 1958.
And it gave the 66-year-old Scot his second Champions League triumph, repeating the success against Bayern Munich in Barcelona in 1999.
Chelsea captain Terry had to be consoled by boss Avram Grant as he broke down in tears after missing the penalty that would have given his side the trophy.
He slipped in his run-up on turf made treacherous by a torrential downpour and sent his kick against the upright.
The penalty shoot-out capped a thrilling game with passages of play of the highest calibre, with United dominating the first half but Chelsea showing huge reserves of character, resilience and ability to dominate after the break.
United may have been fuelled by the fates, however, and they rode their luck before Sir Bobby Charlton - a survivor of the Munich disaster - joined the players in the ceremony as they went up to collect their medals.
The opening exchanges amounted to little more than sparring, but the game burst into life after 20 minutes following an aerial collision between Paul Scholes and Claude Makelele that left both players with a yellow card and the Manchester United veteran with a bloody nose.
Ferguson suffered penalty heartache before
Ronaldo had been giving Michael Essien a torrid time, and his threat was transformed into tangible results after 26 minutes when he soared above the Chelsea defender to meet Wes Brown's cross and head his 42nd goal of the season.
Chelsea were almost gifted an equaliser in bizarre circumstances seven minutes later when Van der Sar was forced to claw away a header from his own defender, Rio Ferdinand, after Drogba forced Lampard's cross into the six-yard box.
Petr Cech somehow denied Manchester United a second in the 34th minute after a stunning move that swept from one end of the field to the other in an instant and left Chelsea exposed.
Wayne Rooney found Ronaldo with a raking pass, and his cross was delivered to perfection for Tevez, whose header was blocked by Cech - who then recovered to make a magnificent one-handed save from Michael Carrick's follow-up effort.
Tevez was denied again four minutes before the interval when he escaped the attentions of Makelele but could not slide in Rooney's low cross.
United were left to regret their missed chances when Chelsea took advantage of several slices of good fortune to equalise on the stroke of half-time.
News conference: Chelsea boss Avram Grant
Essien's shot was speculative at best, but two crucial deflections off Vidic and Ferdinand saw the ball fall kindly for Lampard, who slotted in a neat finish - and his celebration demonstrated that the goal was dedicated to the memory of his late mother Pat, who died in April.
Chelsea were transformed by the equaliser, passing with purpose and looking the more likely side.
And the much-debated Luzhniki Stadium pitch was suddenly starting to exert an influence, with both Ferdinand and Lampard suffering from cramp.
Drogba had been a peripheral figure for much of the game, but he produced a moment of brilliance with 13 minutes left when he curled a right-foot shot against the post from 25 yards.
There was a moment of history three minutes from the end of normal time when Ryan Giggs replaced Scholes to make his 759th appearance for United, beating the previous club record held by United legend Charlton, who was watching from the stands.
Terry slipped at the vital moment in the shoot-out
Chelsea boss Grant bizarrely left it until two minutes into extra-time to make his first change, sending on Salomon Kalou for the disappointing Florent Malouda.
The woodwork denied Chelsea again seconds later when a superbly disguised pass from Michael Ballack set up Lampard, but his shot rebounded to safety off the bar with Van der Sar beaten.
United were left cursing 10 minutes into extra time when Chelsea captain Terry headed off the line miraculously from Giggs after Patrice Evra had shown pace and strength to fashion the opening.
Rooney had suffered a frustrating evening, and he looked less than satisfied when he was hauled off as United introduced the pace and unpredictability of Nani.
Drogba was sent off four minutes from the end of extra time by Slovakian referee Lubos Michel for slapping Vidic after an ugly melee developed when Chelsea felt Tevez had been unsporting in returning the ball after a break for players to be treated for cramp.
Tevez and Carrick were on target for United as the shoot-out started, with Ballack and Juliano Belletti following suit for Chelsea.
Ronaldo then made a hash of his effort, stopping in his run-up before seeing his kick saved by Cech.
Scenes in Manchester as United win
Lampard was successful from the spot and Owen Hargreaves scored under pressure before Ashley Cole's penalty took Chelsea to the brink of victory.
Nani scored to prolong the tension, but with defeat staring United in the face, Terry threw them a lifeline with his miss.
Substitutes Anderson and Kalou traded successful kicks before Giggs threw all the responsibility on Anelka as the shoot-out reached sudden death - and it proved too much for the striker, who saw his penalty palmed away by Van der Sar to crown United as kings of European football once again.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown (Anderson 120), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Hargreaves, Scholes (Giggs 87), Carrick, Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney (Nani 101). Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, O'Shea, Fletcher, Silvestre.
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