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Champions League: Liverpool beats Chelsea 4-1 on penalty kicks to advance to Champions League final

Champions League: Liverpool beats Chelsea 4-1 on penalty kicks to advance to Champions League final

Dirk Kuyt scored the winner and Liverpool beat Chelsea 4-1 on penalty kicks Tuesday to advance to the final of the Champions League for the second time in three years.
The match went to a shootout with the aggregate score tied at 1-1 after Liverpool led 1-0 at the end of regular and extra time, with a goal in the 23rd minute by Daniel Agger.
"It was very special for me, it's going to be my first final," Kuyt said of his penalty.
Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina saved the first and third Chelsea penalties from Arjen Robben and Geremi.
Boudewijn Zenden, substitute Xabi Alonso and captain Steven Gerrard also converted their penalty kicks for Liverpool.
Kuyt also had a goal disqualified in the 10th minute of extra time and his powerful shot was saved by Cech with only one minute to go.
In the May 23 final in Athens, Liverpool faces either Manchester United or AC Milan, which plays its second leg Wednesday. United has a 3-2 advantage from the first leg.
Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005 _ also on penalty kicks _ against Milan.
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho said his players were the better team.
"Everybody has to try to be strong, I think they have a lot of reasons to be proud of themselves," Mourinho said. "They were the best team today ... In extra time we were the only team who tried to win, but football is like that and the penalty shootout is part of the game."
This is the third time Chelsea has exited the Champions League semifinals. It was beaten by Liverpool in 2005 and by Monaco in 2004.
Gerrard said comments attributed to Mourinho before the game had annoyed his teammates.
"I think he was a bit disrespectful calling us a little club," Gerrard said. "Two finals in three years _ not bad for a little club."
Liverpool, watched by American owners George Gillet and Tom Hicks, led 1-0 at the end of regular time, thanks to Agger's goal when the Reds took advantage of poor marking by Chelsea.
Instead of sending the ball into the penalty box, Gerrard squared the free kick to Agger who was unmarked one meter inside the area. The Denmark defender flicked the ball with his first touch low inside Cech's right post for his first Champions League goal.
Chelsea's first threatening effort came in the 32nd when John Obi Mikel picked out Didier Drogba in space, but the Ivory Coast striker struck straight at Reina who did well to block the powerful shot.
In the 39th, Drogba headed wide off a corner from Frank Lampard.
Lampard swung a ball into the area on the stroke of half time, which Reina punched clear.
The game maintained its high tempo after the restart, with the Reds looking more likely to find a winning goal.
Crouch used his height to connect with Pennant's looping cross in the 56th. Cech reacted quickly with his feet to deny the lanky striker and Chelsea captain John Terry kicked the ball clear.
Three minutes later, Dirk Kuyt headed against the crossbar.
When Terry gave the ball away in the 71st, Pennant found himself in space to unleash a shot, which Essien deflected away.
Essien, a midfielder, returned after a one-match ban to partner Terry at centerback, with Ricardo Carvalho ruled out with a knee injury.
After Liverpool's dominance, Ashley Cole surged down the left flank in the 75th, but when he sent the ball into the box Jamie Carragher got in front of Drogba to clear.
Chelsea were missing striker Andriy Shevchenko, who denied reports that he refused to travel with the team and watched from the stands. Midfielder Michael Ballack was missing after an ankle operation.
Liverpool defeated Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield in the Premier League in January.


Updated : 2021-05-16 01:27 GMT+08:00