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Champions League final as it happened

Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea MAN UTD WIN 6-5 ON PENALTIES
Match report

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)

606: DEBATE
To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Caroline Cheese


2310: I don't want to go... but I must... but I don't want to... but seriously... Was it only a few hours ago we were all worrying that game might not be that exciting? It was gripping from start to finish. Well done United, unlucky Chelsea. It is now 2.10am in Moscow and, look at that, it's only 17 days until Euro 2008 starts. Hurray!

2307: Your man of the match is Cristiano Ronaldo on 7.77, just about edging Petr Cech (7.58) and Frank Lampard (7.17). Still plenty of time to vote though... and I reckon Edwin van der Sar might make a late charge.
Rate the players

2304: "Drogba should have taken that fifth pen, I feel for Big John though, cannot fault his courage. Well done United (ungrits teeth)."
Dario in London, via text on 81111

2303: "I think we dominated the game. Credit to United, they took control the first half an hour but once we woke up... we looked the strongest team. John slipped, it's very cruel. He's Mr Chelsea. He wants this more than anyone. I just want to say that not many centre-halfs would have taken that penalty. We'll be back. I feel emotionally drained after the last few weeks."
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard

2259: Sir Alex Ferguson becomes only the 16th coach to win the European Cup twice. Edwin van der Sar and Owen Hargreaves make it 12 players to pick up winners' medals with two different clubs. I don't think I've seen Fergie dad-dancing yet, which is a tad disappointing.

2257: The Manchester United players have been covered in gold string from which they are now trying to break clear in amusing fashion. "Glory Glory Man United" rings out at the Luzhniki Stadium as Ronaldo and Nani skip round the pitch with the trophy.

2256: "What can I say? In the beginning we dominated the game... we hit the post twice and then lost on penalties. JT is the main reason we're here. We had difficult times. I'm very proud of the team. It's not the last time for Chelsea in the final."
Chelsea boss Avram Grant

2254: Avram Grant chucks his medal into the crowd in a Jose Mourinho-style gesture. Will he be at Stamford Bridge next season? Will Drogba? So many questions.

2253: "YES CHAMPIONSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! i feel for chelsea though, but we fully deserve that."
ManRooUnited on 606
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2250: There it is. Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand lift the Champions League trophy and the celebrations begin in earnest.

2249: A puffy-eyed John Terry is still watching as United receive their medals. Sir Bobby Charlton gets a hug and a pat on the head from Cristiano Ronaldo.

2248: Sir Bobby Charlton, survivor of the Munich air crash 50 years ago, leads the Manchester United team up. Emotional scenes in Moscow. Sir Bobby refuses the offer of a medal from Michel Platini.

2246: Uefa chief exec Michel Platini gives compatriot Claude Makelele a friendly slap on the face in an attempt to cheer him up. Avram Grant trudges slowly down the stairs. What's going through his mind?

2244: Manchester United applaud the beaten finalists as John Terry leads them up to receive their losers' medals. It's a long old walk for the Chelsea players.

2242: Avram Grant gathers his players for pep talk. It's going to need some pep talk. John Terry is still crying.

2240: "The first penalty shoot-out I've ever won in a big game. I think there was a bit of fate about it. We were fantastic in the first half and could have been three up but then they scored a lucky goal. They were better in the second half. I'm delighted for everyone. It's an amazing achievement. We deserve it."
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson

2237: The contrast between the two teams could not be greater. As John Terry tries to stem the tears, the United players are going absolutely bananas out there. Cristiano Ronaldo is also in tears. The winger missed the fifth spot-kick but was saved from a lifetime of regret when Terry missed his.

2235: Incredible, heart-stopping drama - and you have to feel sympathy for John Terry. The Chelsea skipper had a kick to win it for his club but slipped at the vital moment and saw his effort hit the outside of the post. He is at the moment being smothered in a hug from manager Avram Grant. Manchester United begin the celebrations after Edwin van der Sar saved the crucial final spot-kick from Nicolas Anelka.

2234: MANCHESTER UNITED WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 6-5 ON PENALTIES

PENALTY SHOOT-OUT
TEVEZ SCORES Man Utd 1-0 Chelsea
BALLACK SCORES Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea
CARRICK SCORES Man Utd 2-1 Chelsea
BELLETTI SCORES Man Utd 2-2 Chelsea
RONALDO MISSES Man Utd 2-2 Chelsea
LAMPARD SCORES Man Utd 2-3 Chelsea
HARGREAVES SCORES Man Utd 3-3 Chelsea
A COLE SCORES Man Utd 3-4 Chelsea
NANI SCORES Man Utd 4-4 Chelsea
TERRY MISSES Man Utd 4-4 Chelsea
ANDERSON SCORES Man Utd 5-4 Chelsea
KALOU SCORES Man Utd 5-5 Chelsea
GIGGS SCORES Man Utd 6-5 Chelsea
ANELKA MISSES Man Utd 6-5 Chelsea

2224: Carlos Tevez up first - against Petr Cech.

2222: Avram Grant is beckoning his team over for a talk before the dreaded penalties. Fergie is with pen and paper working out his penalty-takers.

2221: Penalties it is. Who's your money on?

2220: FULL-TIME Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea after extra-time

2219: One change each. Juliano Belletti for Claude Makelele. Anderson for Wes Brown.

2217: Looks like Anderson will be on in a sec. Nani cuts in from the right and sets up Cristiano Ronaldo, who chips the ball up for Carlos Tevez. The Argentine hasn't quite got enough spring through and heads wide.

2216: We'll have a bit more added time as Ashley Cole and Nani receive treatment in the box after a collision.

2215: We are into two minutes of added time - which is weird because the argie bargie that ended with Drogba's departure seemed to last about five minutes.

2214: "Andriy Shevchenko has been warming up for what seems like about an hour to try to grab his manager's attention. It's almost sad to see the former European footballer of the year in such circumstances. And after his penalty for Milan three years ago, Grant would be brave to bring him on."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

2212: It's all got very nasty out there. Drogba, by the way, is only the second man to be sent off in a Champions League final. The first was Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann in 2006.

2210: RED CARD Chelsea
What the blazes? A flashpoint develops from what seems to be nothing at all as Carlos Tevez argues with a couple of Chelsea players. Gradually, more and more players get involved and - right in front of the ref - Didier Drogba slaps Nemanja Vidic. The ref gives him a straight red and was that the last we'll see of Drogba in a Chelsea shirt?

2208: Carlos Tevez beats two in midfield and gives the ball to Nani on the right, but as his cross comes over, both Tevez and Ryan Giggs are slipping over.

2206: Nemanja Vidic sees yellow for a challenge on Nicolas Anelka as the Chelsea striker makes strides towards goal. Then to add injury to insult, the United defender gets cramp. He's up and about now though. Didier Drogba whacks the free-kick wide from 30 yards.

2204: "People are just waiting for this game to run out. There are some tired players out there."
BBC Radio 5 Live summariser Graham Taylor

2203: "Must not make a mistake, must not make a mistake," is what every player is thinking. Not much else to report. All a bit ponderous.

2203: "Tense or what? A group of passengers boarding a flight to Sydney are gathered round my Blackberry, hope the flight's delayed. Due off at 10.15 and looks like penalties."
John via text on 81111

2202: "So Fergie has taken Scholes and Rooney off, and Avram has done likewise with Joey Cole. I wonder what they're trying to say about English penalty-takers. Fans latest - United's have upped their game, but Chelsea's are still the loudest."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

2201: "I don't think I have the nerves to watch this. Please don't let it go to pens. Our record is POOOOOOOOR."
JT_BlueForever on 606
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2200: Off we go again. Fergie's got his white tracksuit top on to protect his fancy suit from the rain. He did that at Wigan you know... and look what happened there.

2158: Switcheroo time as ref Lubos Michel blows his whistle for the end of the first-half of extra-time.

2157: "Mmm deja vu... I seem to recall Bayern hit bar and post yet couldn't win the match in '99..."
Ian, Eastbourne, via text on 81111

2155: "Top class defending from John Terry."
Summariser Stan Collymore on BBC Radio 5 Live

2153: Carlos Tevez breaks on the left, cuts back... and shoots straight at Petr Cech. Bit selfish there.

2151: Oh my goodness me. Patrice Evra rampages down the left and cuts the ball back for Ryan Giggs whose shot is brilliantly headed behind by John Terry for a corner. As Terry receives congratulations from some relieved team-mates, Wayne Rooney comes off, chucks his shirt on the ground, and Nani is on.

2149: Another change from Chelsea and Nicolas Anelka replaces Joe Cole. The Chelsea fans are whistling. No change in formation though. Anelka will play on the right of the front three.

2146: Joe Cole is down injured - and the booing from the Chelsea fans increases until United kick the ball out. Looks like cramp.

2146: "There's been some doubt about Cristiano Ronaldo in the big games. He's delivered tonight. No question."
BBC Radio 5 Live summariser Graham Taylor

2145: A huge let-off for United as Frank Lampard swivels in the box and thumps a left-foot shot onto the bar. That's twice Chelsea have found the woodwork now.

2144: Salomon Kalou comes on for Florent Malouda as the rain falls in Moscow.

2143: Nice interchange on the edge of the area as Carlos Tevez attempts a one-two with Wayne Rooney but Chelsea cut out the return pass.

2141: Chelsea get extra-time under way. Salomon Kalou is poised to come on.

2140: "Well who would have thought? I bet the bookies have taken a real caning on extra-time. As for us, well, it's twenty to one in the morning Moscow time and an awful lot of people are on early-morning flights. There won't be much sleep going on tonight."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

2138: Fergie's straight in among his players, giving instructions to Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand. Avram Grant, reports BBC 5 Live's Mark Saggers, is "just wandering about, as he does."

2137: FULL-TIME Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea

2136: Cristiano Ronaldo swings over a cross in the general direction of Wayne Rooney but it's too high. Rooney has been very quiet so far.

2135: We're into two minutes of added time.

2134: "Isn't it Sheva time yet? I can see him getting the winner ..."
DoItForEddie on 606
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2132: "The Chelsea fans are the closest to me in the stadium - and my word are they going through the whole gamut of emotions. Half of them are singing their team on and the other half look like they are about to cry at any minute. Does it get more tense than this?"
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium
I can answer that. No.

2130: Off comes Paul Scholes... on comes Ryan Giggs to make his record-breaking 759th appearance for United, breaking Sir Bobby Charlton's record. Charlton looks on proudly.

2129: With so many players slip-sliding about out there, I can't help fearing a mistake might settle this game.

2128: Lino reckons Nemanja Vidic has fouled Didier Drogba out right. Florent Malouda chips it to Didier Drogba, who chests down and shoots well wide.

2126: Sir Alex Ferguson is beckoning over Ryan Giggs and the winger takes off his green vest as he jogs towards his manager. Time to get the record books out.

2125: Carlos Tevez flings a shot just wide. Less than 10 minutes of normal time remaining.

2124: Florent Malouda takes advantage of a Rio Ferdinand before sliding the ball in from the left but Didier Drogba can't get hold of the shot.

2122: It's all getting tetchy out there. Carlos Tevez is the latest to give away a free-kick.

2122: Didier Drogba takes a step and bends a fabulous shot on to the post. So unlucky.

2120: Good call from the referee there as Florent Malouda appeals for a penalty. Replays show he was tripped by his own foot rather than Rio Ferdinand.

2119: Graham Taylor thinks he's spotted a change. Wayne Rooney is out on the right, Owen Hargreaves in the middle, with Carlos Tevez on his own up front.

2117: Cristiano Ronaldo does Michael Essien once again and skips into the box. Then we get bad Ronaldo as he lashes a shot into the side netting. The ref incurs the wrath of Joe Cole once again as he wrongly awards a corner against the Chelsea man. Nothing from it though.

2115: Owen Hargreaves sets up Michael Carrick on the edge of the box but the midfielder doesn't really get hold of the shot. He wins a corner though. Just before the shot comes in, Carlos Tevez collides with Claude Makelele - leaving the Chelsea midfielder needing treatment for a face injury. Makelele is off the pitch as the corner comes in - which results in a free-kick for a foul on Petr Cech.

2112: The stretcher's on for Ferdinand but it looks like cramp... And he's back up and running now.

2111: Corner for Chelsea... But Malouda's effort doesn't clear the first defender. United skipper Rio Ferdinand is limping badly. He manages to clear the ball with his wonky leg but then immediately collapses in agony.

2109: "Fergie remains impassive on the United bench, but surely he can't leave it too much longer before making a change? His team are being over-powered at present."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

2108: Nemanja Vidic hauls down Didier Drogba to give away the free-kick in the United half. Michael Carrick cleverly hooks clear Florent Malouda's effort.

2106: Fergie is sitting back, arms folded, not looking happy at all.

2105: Michael Ballack slips a brilliant free-kick through for Florent Malouda but the winger's attempted cut-back is easily cut out. Chelsea looking dangerous.

2102: By the way, it's just ticked past midnight in Moscow.

2101: Michael Ballack is given an awful lot of space in midfield and takes the opportunity to stride forward and go for goal - wide.

2100: Nemanja Vidic comes to United's rescue with a well-judged clearing header from Florent Malouda's cross. Didier Drogba heads over under pressure from the corner.

2058: "Essien just had to get it on target because Edwin van der Sar slipped."
Summariser Graham Taylor on BBC Radio 5 Live

2058: And up the other end, Michael Essien goes charging through the midfield before cutting back onto his left foot and shooting over.

2058: Cristiano Ronaldo tricks his way past Michael Ballack before releasing Patrice Evra with a fabulous weighted pass but the cross is too high for Owen Hargreaves at the far post.

2055: Joe Cole goes racing after the referee after failing to win a corner after a tussle with Patrice Evra. Careful, fella.

2053: Michael Ballack is penalised for pushing Cristiano Ronaldo. More of a tickle really. United waste the free-kick.

2052: "I'm invoking the gods of 26th May 1999 and praying we don't lose momentum. Wish we had Teddy and Ole Gunnar in reserve."
Ellie, Wellingborough, via text on 81111

2051: "In order for Chelsea to get into the game they have to get Joe Cole into the game."
Summariser Graham Taylor on BBC Radio 5 Live

2051: Pitch chat... seems to be holding up so far although there are plenty of players having trouble keeping their feet.

2048: United have to wait on the pitch for a few minutes before Chelsea finally jog out. Sir Alex Ferguson waits just outside the tunnel and has a word with the ref about something. The second half is finally under way.

2047: "I think we'll see a different Chelsea in the second half because the first 30 minutes it was all United. Will Chelsea keep the same system? That's the question."
Stan Collymore on BBC Radio 5 Live

2045: "The Chelsea fans are delirious, they must feel they have got out of jail going in level after that half. Meanwhile in the press room, it's all kicking off. You can't even get a drink without your meal ticket - which they took off you when you had a, er, meal earlier. Clowns."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

2041: "Almost smashed my flat screen when Chelsea scored. Avram, put on Kalou on for Malouda, Anelka for Joe Cole 75 minutes and the game is ours. Come on Chelsea."
Kwasi, Stratford, via text on 81111
Not sure Avram's reading this, but you never know.

2040: Cristiano Ronaldo is well clear of the pack on Player Rater, leading the way on 8.29. Petr Cech is his closest rival with 7.22 - the least he deserved after that brilliant double save from Tevez and then Carrick. Wayne Rooney's the only other player to break seven - but do you know what? That can all change...
Player Rater

2039: Roman Abramovich leapt athletically out of his (luxuriously cushioned) seat as that goal went in.

2034: Well, anyone think that was boring? No, didn't think so. United had a deserved lead after winning the tactical battle but that lucky Lampard goal has Chelsea level at half-time. Cristiano Ronaldo went off at half-time shaking his head, as well he might.

2033: HALF-TIME Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea

2033: Ricardo Carvalho is carded for a poor challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo, prompting a whole lot of pointless arguing from the Chelsea players. Claude Makelele - already on a yellow - is walking a fine line.

2030: GOAL Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea
Michael Essien has a low shot from distance and it takes a deflection off Nemanja Vidic and then Rio Ferdinand before Frank Lampard slots in. Edwin van der Sar slipped over too just to add to the catalogue of misfortunes. Lampard points to the heavens just before he is mobbed by his team-mates.

2029: Rio Ferdinand gives away a free-kick on the edge of the area for obstructing Frank Lampard. Yellow card for Rio. Didier Drogba allows Michael Ballack to take it but the German's effort is too high.

2027: What a miss! Wayne Rooney skims a low cross into the area where Carlos Tevez gets only the slightest of touches. The ball squirms harmlessly away. Arms in the air from Fergie.

2025: "Chelsea have looked really dejected since the United goal, it's almost as though they were planning to keep it 0-0 for as long as possible then go at them late on."
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2022: Goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo looks on top of his game so far and that earns him top marks in Player Rater with 7.74. Chelsea defender John Terry is head and shoulder above his team-mates which tells its own story.
Player Rater

2021: Now Petr Cech comes to the party. A wonderful counter-attack from United, with Waye Rooney delivering a peach of a ball for Cristiano Ronaldo on the left. Carlos Tevez meets his cross from eight yards out but Cech saves brilliantly and then gets up to beat away Michael Carrick's follow-up. Breathless stuff.

2019: Edwin van der Sar has to make his first save - and it's out of the top drawer. Didier Drogba heads a crossfield ball back across goal where Rio Ferdinand almost heads into his own goal under pressure from Michael Ballack.

2018: Didier Drogba wins the header from John Terry's long ball but he hasn't got a team-mate anywhere near him. Fergie is winning the tactical battle at the moment.

2017: Didier Drogba has got a back problem or something. Reckon he'll be OK though.

2016: Michael Essien v Cristiano Ronaldo is a mismatch at the moment. The cross from the right comes in and Ronaldo beats Essien again at the far post but Ricardo Carvalho is there to clear his header across goal.

2014: "Cometh the hour, cometh the man - but what a stunning part Paul Scholes played in that goal. His flick to play in Wes Brown was absolute genius."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

2011: GOAL Man Utd 1-0 Chelsea
Wes Brown plays a quick one-two with Paul Scholes before delivering the cross from the right to the far post where Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Michael Essien completely flat-footed to head home. Big game? No problem.

2010: Paul Scholes is back on now, with some tissue stuck up his nose. Anderson starts to warm up as a precaution.

2008: Panic in the United defence as Frank Lampard's cross comes over. Nemanja Vidic opts against waiting for the keeper and heads it behind for the corner. Nothing from it. Scholes still getting treatment.

2005: Flashpoint time. Paul Scholes clatters into Claude Makelele as they go for an aerial ball and the United midfielder ends up with a bloody nose. Wayne Rooney gets involved with some unnecessary pushing and shoving. Scholes and Makelele get booked - which is a bit harsh on the Chelsea man if you ask me.

2005: "With all four centre-halves in imperious form so far, it's going to take something pretty special - like that moment of sublime skill from Ronaldo (2001) - to break the deadlock."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

2004: "I'm cold, yet sweating. This final has made me shakingly ill."
Anon via text on 81111
Maybe you've just got flu?

2002: Claude Makelele and Paul Scholes have a little tiff in the centre circle but it's all smiles again now.

2001: Cristiano Ronaldo beats Michael Essien with ease on the left and whips over the cross but it goes over Owen Hargreaves at the far post.

2000: Michael Ballack lofts a pass over for Joe Cole, but it's far too heavy and goes out of play. United have edged the first 15 minutes just about.

1958: Ashley Cole is off the pitch. Is he changing his boots? I think so. Anyway, he's back now.

1955: Ten minutes gone and not a shot on goal. The ref has a word with Owen Hargreaves about shirt-pulling.

1953: Lovely passing and moving from United. The ball eventually comes out to Owen Hargreaves on the right but his cross is headed away by John Terry. Crucial intervention because Wayne Rooney was waiting.

1951: A little moment of worry for Petr Cech there as Owen Hargreaves' cross takes a wicked deflection, but the Chelsea keeper collects at the second attempt.

1949: Florent Malouda is played in by Frank Lampard and whips in a dangerous cross - but Nemanja Vidic is there to head clear.

1948: "It's difficult to imagine a game with a grander opening than what we've just seen, or a game with more riding on it. Calmest man in the house? Paul Scholes, no question."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

1946: United seem to be playing 4-4-2 with Cristiano Ronaldo on the left and Owen Hargreaves on the right, Rooney and Tevez up front. That means Ronaldo is up against Michael Essien, not Ashley Cole.

1945: It's 10.45pm in Moscow as Manchester United kick off the first ever all-English Champions League final. Lubos Michel, he of the 'ghost goal' for Liverpool against Chelsea, is our referee tonight.

1942: One last blast of the Champions League anthem. Frank Lampard looks to the heavens.

1941: Wayne Rooney looks very relaxed as he shares a joke with one of his Chelsea rivals, and here come the teams. We also get a first glimpse of Roman Abramovich, who appears to be in a very luxurious box.

1938: Some ladies in red leotards are dancing around to a re-working of the Champions League anthem. The players are in the tunnel...

1935: 10 minutes to go... Here's more from Stevo in the Luzhniki Stadium: "Just had a rendition of Blue Is The Colour that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Awesome. And I'm pretty sure every single Chelsea fan has got a flag. All of them. Rinat Dasayev just brought out the Champions League trophy. He was the Russia keeper who didn't get anywhere near Marco van Basten's ludicrous volley in the Euro '88 final."

1932: "Lots of chat in the press room about that boy Ronaldo and whether he can finally put to bed the critics' claim that he doesn't perform in the really, really, really big games. If he wants legend status, he'll get few better opportunites."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

1929: Here's Fergie on picking Owen Hargreaves over Ji-Sung Park: "Owen's been in fantastic form. He's reaching a peak for us. It was difficult one because Ji-Sung Park has contributed a tremendous amount and we're very proud of that. It's not easy - but I hope I'm right."

1926: Avram Grant is absolutely buzzing... well, I'm sure he is inside anyway. "It's a great opportunity," he says. "Great moments come from great opportunities."

1925: 20 minutes to go. "My stomach is gonna explode," says Kzrcfc26 on 606. Stomachs are on the point of exploding all over the country I imagine.

1918: Someone just asked who James Richardson is. Tsk. I'm not answering that. BBC 5 Live analyst Stan Collymore reckons the United players looked a bit calmer when they ran out to warm up.

1912: "The legendary James Richardson is chatting away on the two big screens inside the stadium and, brilliantly, he just got a huge cheer from both sets of fans for this: "Who'd have thought in 1990 we'd be in a new Russia for the biggest club game in the world? Who'd have thought it'd be two English clubs? And who'd have thought Liverpool would still be waiting to win the league again?"
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

1910: "Cheese - this is beyond a joke now. Instead of sinking a few pre-match pints in the pub, I'm waiting for a ****** bed to arrive at my new flat. If the John Lewis delivery man is reading this, please get your **** round to mine pronto. Blues 2-0. Cheers"
Baz via text on 81111

1904: United's line-up contains none of the team that won the trophy in 1999 - although Ryan Giggs is on the bench.

1903: "Am disappointed that Malouda is playing but glad to see those rumours that Ballack was going to be dropped were wrong. Having said that the Hargreaves-Scholes-Carrick combination still looks more likely to control things from midfield than Ballack-Makelele-Lampard."
Richard, revising French for finals exam tomorrow, via text on 81111

1901: I hope everyone was standing to respect the Champions League anthem. It brings a tear to my eye knowing we won't be hearing that again until, er, July is it?

1856: "The Chelsea keepers are the first to go through their paces, with Petr Cech getting a massive ovation from the Blues fans. Surely he won't make that rumoured £30m switch to AC Milan and break their hearts?"
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

1851: There is less than an hour to go until kick-off. LESS THAN AN HOUR. Sorry for shouting, but I'm excited you know?

1849: "Feel for Ji-Sung Park. Big time. Fergie knew looking back at his comments."
Tom, Notts, via text on 81111

1836: I'll leave you to mull those teams over for 10 minutes while I pop for some tea.

1830: FULL TEAMS
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Hargreaves, Scholes, Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez. Subs: Kuszczak, Anderson, Giggs, Nani, O'Shea, Fletcher, Silvestre.
Chelsea: Cech, Essien, Terry, Carvalho, A Cole, Makelele, Ballack, Lampard, Malouda, J Cole, Drogba. Subs: Cudicini, Shevchenko, Mikel, Kalou, Alex, Belletti, Anelka.

1826: "I hope it will be a good game. I think it will depend on United's approach. In the league, they tend to attack and they're hard to handle. But when it comes to European games, they tend to match up to the opposition. My feeling is if they end up matching Chelsea's formation, it will end up favouring Chelsea."
Graham Taylor on BBC Radio 5 Live

1820: The United players are also having a wander on the pitch, wearing grey suits and red ties. Oh, and the Manchelsea squad selector isn't working (see 1808). Let's hope that's not an omen.

1814: "Caroline, on the good omens for Man Utd, don't forget that it's 25 years since Sir Alex won his first European trophy."
James, Hitchin, via text on 81111

1812: "The Chelsea team, in their very nice suits, have a stroll around the pitch and that's the best I've heard from their fans all day. Didier Drogba looks ridiculous with his enormous headphones."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in the Luzhniki Stadium

1808: I know what you're thinking... If, say, you were to amalgamate Chelsea and Manchester United, who'd make the starting XI? We could call it Chelsester United. Or Manchelsea. Or something. Anyway, if you're reading this on the website, why not have a go on this extra special squad selector...
Manchelsea squad selector

1801: But there are omens for United too. It is 50 years since the Munich air crash and 40 since United first lifted the European Cup when they beat Benfica 4-1 at Wembley. Bobby Charlton (twice), Brian Kidd and a fella called George Best provided the goals.

1759: I've got another good omen for Chelsea... the Blues won their first European trophy on 21 May 1971 with victory over Real Madrid in the Cup Winners' Cup, exactly 37 years ago.

1755: "I hope the stewards are more used to the fans than they are to the press. Having been sent the wrong way around the ground, they then made a few of us take a ridiculous excursion down by the river. Uefa claims it has volunteers who speak English but four out of the five I spoke to didn't. Maybe it was my east Midlands lilt."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in Moscow

1745: Let me entertain you with my first stat of the day - and it's a good omen for Chelsea. In the previous two same-country Champions League finals, the team finishing lower in their domestic league has prevailed. AC Milan (v Juventus) in 2003 and Real Madrid (v Valencia) in 2000.

1743: I'm also hearing that flights from Moscow to the UK are on a first-come, first-served basis after the match. That's going to be a helluva queue.

1739: "I never failed to get surprised by our team, and it is a team. When you think it has taken a long time to get here, they are not going to miss this opportunity. I am just happy that we are here and I am enjoying every minute of it."
Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton speaking to BBC News in Moscow

1735: News reaches us that there might have been a bit of trouble at Gatwick after that cancelled flight which left more than 200 Chelsea fans stranded in London. Here's Nick Morrow from Glasgow: "All hell broke loose for a short period of time but I have to say the police did a decent job of controlling it, they weren't aggressive, and by and large people behaved quite well. I've spent, well, the cost of the ticket, the charge for my ticket was £680. On top of that I had my match ticket, return flights from Scotland which have now cost me £200, a night at the Gatwick Hilton hotel which was £140, and I just feel at the moment like I don't even want to watch the game. I can't believe it's going to happen without me being there."

1732: "Am I the only one who despises Chelsea yet desperately wants them to win just to see Avram "The Extra Special One" Grant's celebration?"
Will via text on 81111

1727: "I am in the stadium at last. The Luzhniki is an imposing-looking structure, austere even, and looks slightly like a mausoleum from the outside. The many uniforms stationed around the entrances remind me that when the Olympics were here in 1980 this was the Soviet Union. The wet weather has left a grey lid over the stadium. Let's hope Chelsea and Manchester United can provide us with some colour."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Alastair Yeomans in Moscow

1720: "If Ballack has been dropped then that's the worst footballing decision since bringing Walcott to the World Cup for no reason."
NameOnTheTrophy on 606
Join the debate on 606

1716: "Caroline, feel for me and the rest of my band - we're playing a gig in Old Street this evening - no football 'til we get home but bet you a fortune some wise guy will tell us the score before then! We're called Remodel by the way and all non-football fans are welcome to come see us."
Via text on 81111
Thank goodness you didn't drop a massive advert for your band in there without me noticing. This is the BBC, you know.

1710: "Massive rumour among the Chelsea fans that Michael Ballack has been dropped. No wonder the United fans are still in far better voice. One Chelsea fan just said they've got no hope without the in-form German. Great melodrama."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in Moscow

1703: "It's a difficult one to call, they are two evenly-matched sides. I just think everybody is hoping for a great game and hoping it is not going to be like the FA Cup final last year. They are two outstanding teams and it is a great occasion for British football. It's a one-off game and I think both teams will go for it - let's hope so."
Blackburn boss and former Man Utd and Chelsea striker Mark Hughes

1657: Excellent chat from our friends at Sportsround (which is like Newsround, but about sport). Apparently, England's new bowling hero Ryan Sidebottom - he of the ridiculous hair - is a massive United fan. The England cricket boys are split about 50-50 between United and Chelsea and will be dressing up in either red or blue to watch the game later at their team hotel near Old Trafford.
BBC Sportsround

1652: "I like the sound of that line-up (see 1629). Defo pick Kalou over Malouda. I think it will be 2-1 Chelsea. The legend that is Andriy Shevchenko to come on and score the winner in the last few minutes or maybe extra time."
laurent32 on 606
Join the debate on 606

1647: "Everything is impeccable so far. There are about 7,000 supporters distributed between two fan zones. There's music, drinks and food - but no alcohol. It's a relief not many people seem to have travelled without tickets."
Alexei Sorokin, project manager for the Champions League final, on BBC Radio 5 Live

1642: Ryan Giggs will break Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time appearance record for United if he plays tonight. He looks set to be a sub but if he comes on, it will be his 759th game for the club. Crikey.

1635: "It must be half-days all round as fans stake their spots in bars hours before the big kick-off. Chelsea fans are setting up camp near the club's Stamford Bridge ground. Fulham Road SW6 is a sea of blue with shirt-sleeved fans sinking chilled beers in the warm sunshine."
BBC Sport's horse-racing expert and man-about-town Honest Frank

1629: Now then. What about Chelsea? BBC Radio 5 Live's Jonathan Legard has heard whispers that Salomon Kalou will get the nod ahead of Florent Malouda. He also says Ashley Cole will definitely start despite that ankle injury, but Wayne Bridge will be waiting on the bench just in case. So that makes the line-up something like this: Cech, Essien, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole, Ballack, Makelele, Lampard, J Cole, Drogba, Kalou.
Pick your Chelsea team

1627: "I'll definitely let Park start. They don't call him three-lung Park for nothing."
mdfactor on 606
Join the debate on 606

1625: "I'm expecting a Fletcher-sized curveball. Fergie likes him in big games, he's got a winner against Chelsea and he's nice and fresh."
Anon via text on 81111

1624: "It's finally stopped raining, which is good news when you consider the state of the pitch."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Matt Williams in Moscow

1621: "Am at the metro station nearest the ground, having taken the longest escalator since my life began. United fans gave a stirring rendition of 'Viva Ronaldo', before Chelsea hit back with a little Salomon Kalou number. No-one's moving outside though - when you go past the first checkpoint, there's no way back in."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in Moscow
Just to add, Stevo's life didn't actually begin that long ago. I'm surprised they let him travel on his own.

1615: "Don't forget Park, he could start!"
Anon via text on 81111
Good point. Ji-Sung Park has started 10 of the last 11 matches since late March. United lost only one of those 11 matches - against Chelsea, when Park did not play.

1612: Fergie will be telling his players who's starting tonight round about now. This is my best guess: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Hargreaves, Scholes, Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez. How does that sound? Or is anyone expecting an Anderson-sized curveball from Fergie later?
Pick your Man Utd team

1605: Nonsense Dirs, 1-0 to Chelsea, Lampard the scorer in minute 76. Oh, hello everyone.

By Ben Dirs

1555: Right you lot, I'm handing over to Caroline Cheese for the business end of proceedings. It's been marvellous chatting and now it is time to make an inconsequential prediction that can only leave me open to criticism: 1-0 United, Tevez the scorer. Cheese, over to you...

"Forget the much maligned pitch. I believe that if United don't get bogged down in a stifling midfield battle with Chelsea, their flair players should have just that little bit extra to swing the tie. It might not be a Rooney or Ronaldo who edges the crucial goal. I wouldn't like to bet against Paul Scholes making the headlines as he finally takes his bow on the biggest stage."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Alastair Yeomans in Moscow

1545: Ten players have won the European Cup with two different clubs and there will be six players in the two final squads hoping to achieve that feat: Van der Sar and Hargreaves of United and Carvalho, Ferreira, Shevchenko and Makelele of Chelsea. Good to know that Olly doesn't mind who's going to win tonight. Mehmet, who owns the newsagent downstairs from me, doesn't mind who wins either (he supports Galatasaray) and neither does my mum (she'll be knitting).

"I don't mind if Chelsea or Manchester United win. My favourite team is Liverpool, they have a few Spanish players."
Spanish golfer Jose Maria Olazabal on 5 Live

1543: The Big Cheese will be taking over from me in about 20 minutes (she's not really big, that's just a term of endearment) and thank the Lord, my eyes are beginning to bleed blue and red. BBC Sport's Jonathan Legard has had a chat with Michael Ballack's agent and he says there is no truth in the rumour that the German will not start for Chelsea.

"I am a United fan, but I have been singing Avram's praises for months. He is a no-nonsense, no flair style of manager who gets the job done. He does it well if you ask me. Don't forget they were unbeaten in the last 21 League games if I recall correctly."
Andy, reading the build-up instead of looking after a shop full of brides-to-be, via text

"Man Utd fans Shaun, wandering through Red Square trying to offload his five spare tickets (the guy sat next to him on the plane apparently had 12), is disgusted about plans to lock the losing fans in after the final whistle tonight. He's not the only one angry about that decision either."
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in Moscow

"I wouldn't always try and judge players on how good or bad they were by the fact they might, or might not, have won the Champions League. Paul Scholes is a brilliant player and hopefully he will win it this year and hopefully he will have another chance in the next year or two because I don't think he has any plans to retire. He shouldn't because he is a top, top player and it will be a great reward for him. I feel honoured to have played with him."
Former Manchester United skipper Roy Keane on 5 Live

"I have no problem with Avram Grant, he's done very well and the only reason he's not as loved as Mourinho is because he's not as charismatic and gets on with the job. I would personally like to see him have another year, even if we lose, as I don't think second, final, final, quarter-final is particularly bad for a first year in charge."
Ramps on 606

"Another cracker from the girls in work: 'If Man U won the league can they not just let Chelsea win this one? That would be fair'."
Ruaraidh, Inverness, via text

1524: Looks like it's brightening up a little bit outside, which is nice, but also makes me fear any topless men who may be watching the game tonight. When did it become acceptable for men with breasts to roam our streets with no shirt on? Was down in Leigh-on-Sea a couple of weekends ago: lovely place, moobs everywhere.

"I have a cheeky bet on Wes Brown to score first and 3-0. At 1051/1 its well worth it! And it happened against Liverpool earlier in the season!"
Tom, Nottingham, via text

1520: United won their one previous all-English European tie against then holders Spurs in the first round of the 1963/64 Cup Winners' Cup. They overturned a 2-0 first leg loss with a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford. Chelsea's record against English teams in Europe is played 12, won five, drawn five, lost two.

"I believe 'muffin' is a made up word so as Americans don't feel guilty about eating cake for breakfast."
Graham, London, via text

"A cupcake fits neatly into its paper casing whereas with a muffin you get some delicious overspill."
Neil, Portsmouth, via text

"Whenever I get a song stuck in my head I start singing Shanks and Bigfoot's late 90s hit 'Sweet Like Chocolate'. It's sure to supplant any other song knocking around your cranium."
Jack, Cambridge, via text

1508: We had a bit of chat about Avram Grant just a minute ago. Caroline Cheese - a Lady - has written a feature on him which has been published on our website for your perusal. Ben Shimon, who will take over Grant's former club Maccabi Tel Aviv next season, says of him: "Sometimes when you fall in love at first sight, it's too easy. But if it takes work, the love you finally earn is stronger for that. Eventually I'm sure the fans will respect him very much."

1503: I have been challenged on 606 to stop sitting on the fence and name tonight's winner: football. I think football will be the winner. We have a new football index on the website and I think it looks very nice. One of our editors, Lewis Wiltshire, has written a blog all about it.

1500: Sorry about that folks, we were switching the football index over, or something like that. The boss came over and went "blah blah blah blah blah", or something technical like that, and then I wasn't allowed to publish for 20 minutes. Sorry. Anyone on their way to Moscow reading this, pass the time by whistling a catchy tune. Myself and the bloke sat next to me have decided the catchiest tune ever is a toss up between The Associates' Party Fears Two or Rip It Up by Orange Juice. Actually don't start whistling either, once you start you won't be able to shift it for about six days and will probably end up with a bottle of Stolichnaya wrapped round your head. And all over an early 80s Scottish New Wave duo.

"Slightly off topic, but I figure since there are so many people around, someone might know. What's the difference between a muffin and a cupcake?"
UnitedAmen on 606

"You can watch the game at the MEN for a tenner. Sadly, that leaves your funds completly drained. I hear tap water is free though."
Anon via text

"What are the chances of my hero, G Neville, having some say in tonight's proceedings? Toss that legend back in at the deep end, Fergie, his delivery could be the difference in Moscow. If he scores the winner I'm getting his face tatooed on my own face out of respect."
Jon Gallaway, Southend, via text

"I do not understand people who still doubt Grant. He did a good job and he will prove it tonight. We are in the Champions League final, wake up everyone!"
Anon via text

"The Orange Grove used to be a filthy hole when I was in Manchester. Get yourself to Aldi for some sherry and get launched at home."
Nick, Middlesbrough, via text

1429: So, Chelsea fans, why all this ambivalence towards Avram Grant? He's alright isn't he? Got you to a Champions League final, which is more than can be said for Special Boy.

"The Orange Grove in Fallowfield is about as cheap as they come James (see below). Students only, although you do have to deal with a lot of Gooners..."
Stephen, Manchester, via text

1420: PENALITIES!!! Sorry about that, someone had to mention them at some point. United have lost both of their two previous shoot-outs in Europe (1984/85 Uefa Cup QF v Fehervar and 1992/93 Uefa Cup first round v Torpedo Moskva). Chelsea's only previous shoot-out was against Liverpool last season. And another thing, why does everyone keep saying Roman Abramovich is from Moscow when he was born 800km away in Saratov? It's like saying Billy Connolly is from Thurrock. I was in Rainham at the weekend and noticed a newspaper headline that read: "Dead Porpoise found in Essex river". And all I could think to myself was, "the headline writer's had a shocker - how many people know what a porpoise is in Rainham?"

"Regarding your A-level comment (see below): if you believe certain sections of the media, Ronaldinho is on his way to Man City! I do laugh at the way the generation above us claim they're easy now - my mum does it, but I know she's just upset she's thicker than me. United to win 2-0."
Dav via text

"Any suggestions for cheap places to watch the match in Manchester? Typical student, only got a tenner left..."
James, Salford, via text

1414: As you will know, it's 50 years this year since the Munich Air Disaster, and, fittingly, survivors like Harry Gregg, Kenny Morgans and Albert Scanlon have joined Sir Bobby Charlton in Moscow. "We won't let them down" said Sir Alex Ferguson.

1410: More than 200 fans on that cancelled flight from Gatwick apparently and now they have no other way of getting to Moscow. One of them, Neil Turner, said: "We've kind of exhausted every avenue - it's not going to be quite what we thought it was. Um, there you go." Neil Turner, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.

"Re. United never scoring on Russian soil - hasn't this pitch been grown in England by an Englishman and flown over to Russia?"
Chris, Manchester, via text

"Some good old-fashioned women's logic in work today. Girl asks, 'why are two English teams playing in Moscow?' Other girl replies, 'I think Chelsea's owner paid for it to be moved there...'"
Anon via text

1355: Ramps has gone for 29, the search for his hundreth first-class hundred goes on. Blimey, someone has just alerted me to the size of Neil Diamond's ears, they're huge! David Gill, Man United chief executive, has just confirmed that Sir Alex Ferguson will not be retiring, even if his side win, and that Cristiano Ronaldo is going nowhere, except maybe to Tanerife for a top-up.

"I was on the cancelled 0555 from Gatwick. Biggest game in our history and the ticket is in my hand never to be used. Going to buy a cat, then kick it."
Joe via text

"Can everyone stop arguing. I've been single for six months and support Lincoln City. Hope Chelsea get stuffed tonight by the way."
Mark via text

"There's a calmness and confidence about Manchester United coming into this game which I believe will prove important in the final. Winning the Premier League - and by holding off Chelsea's late challenge - has given them a belief evident in the demeanour of players like Rio Ferdinand."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Alastair Yeomans in Moscow

1345: Ramprakash Watch: he's 26 not out, looking for his 100th hundred. Chelsea would be the first London side to win the European Cup if they are triumphant tonight, and at least one of the omens looks good: United have never scored a goal on Russian soil, losing a Uefa Cup first-round tie against Torpedo Moskva in 1992/93 and another Uefa Cup first-round tie against SC Rotor Volgograd three years later.

"As a Liverpool fan, it pains me to admit I really want United to win tonight. Over the competition they have been the better side (best side?). Even worse is the fact I think Ronaldo could be the difference between the two teams. People keep mentioning Drogba, but Ronaldo on his day is by far the best player in the country (a little bit of me died admitting that!)"
Poppy on 606

"Sat reading all the comments with a smirk on my face. Why? Cos I'm sat in Moscow enjoying all the city has to offer. Did Red Square and the Kremlin this morning, now I'm doing the bars. The amount of Reds here proves that Abramovich's money can buy players, but can't buy 100 years of tradition. United are going to win 3-1 (you heard it here first!)."
Big Rich via text

"I am not quite sure how Manchester United will set up, whether they will go 4-4-2 or whether they will put three in there to combat the three that Chelsea will have in Makelele, Lampard and Ballack. If it is the three against two then I see the dominant side being Chelsea. It will really depend on how Manchester United set their team up."
Former Chelsea and Manchester United midfielder Ray Wilkins on 5 Live

1335: Unused Sub (see below), if you believe certain sections of the media, A-levels are about as stressful as an aromatherapy back massage nowadays. You should have just said you had hay fever, they probably would have given you an A*.

"I woke up this morning with a very nervous feeling in my stomach, and I wasn't sure whether it was because I had my English A-level exam or because Chelsea were in the Champions League final. Well, I've done my exam and it's still there, so I guess it must be Chelsea!"
Unused Sub on 606

1329: Caaaarm daaaarn Andy! It ain't worf it! When you start bringing girlfriends into a conversation about football, you know things have got serious. I saw inside the mind of a Romford cab driver at the weekend, and I didn't like what I saw: "Do you like that Amy Winehouse? I'd like to kill her. In fact, I'd like to lock her and Pete Doherty in a house and burn it down." What do you say to that? I thought about telling him I would have liked to have murdered Frank Sinatra, but he probably would have swerved into the central reservation and killed us both.

"What a terrific night it promises to be. The whole town here in Lagos, Nigeria is already agog and adorned with banners of both clubs. United should crown their successful season and I can't wait for the close of work. Yes, the best night in the history of football is here again!"
Charming Red on 606

"Having to justify how 'big' a fan you are of any club is sad. Real blokes can hang onto their birds and their football team by the way you muppets."
Andy on 606

1321: News from former Chelsea legend Pat Nevin that Michael Ballack may have been dropped. BBC 5 Live's football correspondent Jonathan Legard is doing some digging and trying to get to the bottom of the rumour for us. Talking of getting to the bottom of things, I uncovered one of mankind's greatest mysteries on the back of the 174 bus from Romford station last night. After almost a decade searching for someone who watches Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, I overheard one tracksuited lady declare that she was off home to watch it. Tellingly, she followed up this statement by saying: "I ain't really that fussed, I'll watch anything really..."

"It is a cliché to say that the game will need an early goal, but it is a cliché because it is spot on. Finals are normally tentative affairs but Champions League finals are even more so. If one team doesn't score early on then players become fearful of making that one mistake. You need that goal to open the game up a little bit. It is unlikely though, I would be surprised if there is a goal in the first 25 minutes and it may be one of those wars of attrition.

"If Michael Essien plays in midfield then Chelsea will win but if he plays at right back then that might hamper Chelsea. It will stop Ronaldo but it will also stop Chelsea completely controlling midfield. And if it's true, as I've been hearing, that Michael Ballack has been dropped, then that will also have a negative affect on Chelsea's chances."
Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin on 5 Live

"I'd rather be the 73cm chain-smoking Mongolian than the lanky beanpole patronising presenter that treated him as a child even though he was 19."
Jamie, Sheffield, via text

1308: Chelsea's Drogba and Kalou are hoping to become the first winners of the European Cup from the Ivory Coast while United's Ji-Sung Park can make history in the same way for South Korea. About that delayed flight at Gatwick - it's now been cancelled, which makes Gatwick probably the worst place in the whole world to be at this particular moment in time after Burma and Sichuan province in China.

1300: Well, well, well, some of you did get out of bed the wrong side this morning. Come on chaps, let's get things into perspective. When you find yourself getting a bit angry about tonight's match, take a deep breath and think to yourself: there but for the grace of God go I - I could be 73cm tall, live in Inner Mongolia and smoke 40 a day. Even worse, you could be Kerry Katona.

"How amusing, yet also sad, to see people so consumed with hate, jealousy and bitterness, that they feel the need to rant about today's game which has no bearing on their tiny lives. Suppose it's possibly due to the fact that their own clubs, if they even have one, don't merit any interest or attention whatsoever."
Andy on 606

1249: Frank Lampard says he will sit down in the summer with Chelsea to discuss his future and the club confirm no approach has been received. Got to be honest here, but what does that say about players when they go around kissing their badge every time they score a goal and telling everyone they love the club and then think about leaving as soon as they spot something in their contract they're not happy with? Mind you, I can understand pro footballers wanting to get as much money as possible, they may only have 10 years in the game earning £100,000 a week, and what does that buy you nowadays?

"Sir Alex Ferguson looked relaxed at his press conference but I don't think you are very relaxed when there is a big game like this around the corner. Players and managers do get nervous, no matter how many times you have played. Sir Alex has to come out in front of the media and put on some sort of act that he is cool, calm and composed but he will be anxious at the same time. He is a winner, and putting a team out there to win the game is the only thing in his mind."
Former Manchester United player Lou Macari on 5 Live

"Walking towards Red Square and there are at least 10 times more United fans than Chelsea, who are getting a proper barracking. I thought we were in Roman's back yard? Surely he could afford to pay some of his countrymen to don blue shirts?"
BBC Sport's Jonathan Stevenson in Moscow

1240: The head-to-head record between Man Utd and Chelsea in all competitions is: 65 wins for United, 41 for Chelsea and 44 draws. However, Chelsea have had the better of United over the last five seasons, with seven wins, five draws and two defeats. This is the third major final the two teams have contested. United won the 1994 FA Cup final 4-0, while Chelsea won last year's FA Cup final (an absolute cracker of a match) 1-0.

1233: Everyone stare whistfully out of the window - I've got another poem! Nice start, loses its way a bit in the middle and, frankly, my three-year-old niece could have written a better ending. But it's better than smashing up Manchester!

"Two teams from England, travel abroad,
60,000 fans, a passionate horde.
Millions spent on beer and hats,
Leaving behind, their wives and their cats.
It's all about football, the wonderful game,
This one will be tense, but it won't be tame!
Will United win, or will Chelsea prevail?
Whatever the case, a beautiful tale,
Of two teams in Europe, the final of kings,
Nothing compares, there's no other things,
As special as this, so sit back and enjoy,
For what a match it will be!....boy oh boy!"
The Gashead on 606

"I have spoken to Frank Lampard junior and senior and they both said that Frank wants to stay with the club. The club just needs to sort them out on certain things. They are not too far away, my understanding is that image rights is a little bit of a problem as well as one or two other little things. Frank is on the verge, if he is not already, of being a legend at Chelsea and if he stays and sees his career out there with a four-year contract then that legendary status will be assured."
Kerry Dixon on 5 Live

1229: News has reached me that the 0555 from Gatwick to Moscow has been delayed and still hasn't taken off. That's got to be an absolute choker for all involved. Some chap called Stretch has texted in to tell me it's all kicking off. Wouldn't want to be serving behind the bar in the North Terminal's Red Lion...

"Re: Henry (see below), from my A Level Physics knowledge, I seem to remember these things take months to reach operational temperature. So we can expect black holes around the time Andy Murray reaches the Wimbledon men's singles final."
Rhys, North Wales, via text

"I'm on the bus from the airport to the ground. Very strange atmosphere - everyone seems a bit sombre - possibly the calm before the storm. This time last week 150,000 Glaswegians were drinking our city dry. Moscow's outskirts are not exactly endearing. A bit like Middlesborogh with window boxes."
Chris via text

1208: Hang on a second! I made a mistake! Sorry! I've got about four dozen Liverpool fans going mental at me, saying Bob Paisley won the European Cup three times and not, as I wrote, two. As Tony from Liverpool points out via text, he's the only man to manage that feat. What a ruddy legend, although, for some reason, he always reminded me of Spike off of Hi-de-Hi! I'm off for a 10 minute leg-stretch. Ramprakash at the crease for Surrey - not out 4, chasing his 100th hundred. Go on you tiny dancer! Wait a minute, not Spike, Ted...Ted Bovis...that's the man...

"I'm a Man U fan, and I feel sick with nerves. The first football match I ever watched was the '85 Cup replay against Liverpool, where Robson saw us through in a heroic manner against a team that on paper [and results] was far superior. Alas, for all it's talent, the current United team lacks a Robson or Keane figure. In matches such as tonight's, that may be the difference between victory and defeat."

1159: It's Chelsea's third European final tonight (discounting the Super Cup in 1998): they won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 and 1998. Chelsea's starting line-up on the night they beat Real Madrid in a replay in Athens in 1971? Eight Englishmen, two Scots and an Irishman. Mind you, I bet no-one could pronounce Peter Bonetti's name and as for Derek Smethurst, their South African on the bench, Ron 'Chopper' Harris must have thought he came from outer space.

1149: Without wishing to get all Reithian on you, here are some cold, steely facts to digest with your poems and stories and that sad, limp packaged sandwich you're eating at your desk: Fergie would become the 16th manager to lift the trophy more than once if United defeat Chelsea. Brian Clough won it twice with Nottingham Forest, Bob Paisley won it three times with Liverpool. Got to love Lawro's quote about playing under Paisley: "It was like having your grandad as manager."

"Does anyone know what time they're turning on that new particle accelerator at CERN? Really don't want the world to be engulfed by a black hole before kick-off..." A wor

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