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Champions League: Milan reaches final after beating Manchester United 3-0

Champions League: Milan reaches final after beating Manchester United 3-0

Having played "perfectly" to beat Manchester United, AC Milan will now get a chance to avenge the game when it was anything but faultless.
Winning 3-0 over Manchester United on Wednesday gave the Rossoneri a 5-3 aggregate victory and sent it to the European Champions League final against Liverpool, which rallied from a three-goal deficit in the title match two years ago to beat Milan on penalties for the crown.
"It's the dream of any manager to see his team play like we did today. We played perfectly," Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "We're happy to be in the final again and to be playing Liverpool. What happened two years ago has no importance for the next match."
Milan, which has won the European Cup six times, will make the trip to Athens on May 23 for its 11th appearance in the final and third in five years.
"It's certainly special. The Reds have less quality than Manchester United, but they're more physical," Ancelotti said. "Liverpool is a well organized team in defense and they do not allow you to play as we did tonight."
Kaka, who scored both goals in the 3-2 loss last week at Old Trafford, gave Milan the lead in the 11th minute. The Brazilian playmaker beat United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar after Clarence Seedorf headed the ball into his path.
Seedorf made it 2-0 in the 30th, controlling a cross from the right with his chest and shooting past Van der Sar, and substitute Alberto Gilardino scored the third in the 78th after running into the area alone and looping the ball over the United goalkeeper.
Liverpool, a five-time European champion, beat Chelsea 4-1 on penalties Tuesday after a 1-0 win put the teams level at 1-1 on aggregate.
"When Liverpool won, a few players were already thinking about revenge for the 2005 final," Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said. "The Istanbul wound is still fresh in our hearts."
Milan, which has never lost to United over two legs, also knocked the English team out of the competition in the semifinals in 1958 and 1969.
"We never came out the blocks," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "If we had seen through the first 25 minutes without cutting our throats, we would have stood a chance."
The result ended United's hopes of repeating its 1999 treble of the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup titles.
Milan dominated from the first minute, when Kaka sprinted past Nemanja Vidic and cut the ball across the face of United's goal. Fortunately for United, Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi could not reach Kaka's pass.
Two minutes later, the ball fell to Seedorf on the edge of the area but Van der Sar managed to tip the midfielder's drive over the crossbar.
Inzaghi could have added another but he missed the target from close range in the 41st.
"It's the name of the game in Europe. You don't give the ball away," Ferguson said. "Unfortunately we did that and Milan kept possession better than us."
United's best chance of the game came from captain Ryan Giggs, who shot straight at Milan goalkeeper Dida in the 20th.
"If you're going to lose a game, and they're going to play some fantastic football and open you up really well to do that, you put your hands up and say, 'We played a good side tonight,'" Ferguson said. "But we gave the goals away cheaply."
The Red Devils also failed to score on its last visit to the San Siro in 2005, losing 1-0 in the first knockout round.
Vidic returned from a collarbone injury to partner with Wes Brown in the center of United's defense. However, teammates Gary Neville (injured) and Patrice Evra (suspended) both missed the game.
Rio Ferdinand, who was carrying a groin injury, was on the bench.
Milan was without Milan captain Paolo Maldini, who withdrew late Tuesday after failing to recover from a knee injury he picked up in the first leg.