Two Euroderbies in the space of six days for a spot in the Champions League final. This is the second time that this has happened between Inter and AC Milan, the first was on 13 May 2003. Read all about it in this edition of Time Machine.
SETTING THE SCENE
As opposed to this season, the away rule was in effect in the 2002/03 season. This rule meant that the 0-0 draw in the first leg turned the second into a straight knockout tie to be decided within the 90 minutes in the second leg. The first game, on 7 May 2003, wasn't the most exciting affair so it all came down to the second leg, the decider for the spot in the final in Manchester. Carlo Ancelotti had lost Dida from the first leg, as he had picked up an injury against Brescia in the league and was replaced between the sticks by Abbiato. The big news, however, was the return of Andrea Pirlo to the side, who would slot in alongside Gattuso and Seedorf in the midfield three. Completing the 4-3-1-2 formation, Ancelotti went with a back line of Costacurta-Nesta-Maldini-Kaladze, Rui Costa in the attacking midfield role, and a striker partnership of Inzaghi and Shevchenko.
SHEVA ON SONG
The first half an hour saw just one chance created, and it fell the way of Inter, but Crespo's effort was no real problem for Abbiati. You could cut the tension with a knife as both sides were well aware of the prize at stake. The tension broke and intensity and dedication turned into yellow cards brandished by French referee Veissiére. Di Biagio, Gattuso, Inzaghi and Rui Costa all went into the book. It all changed as the first half wound to a close at SanSiro; in the first minute of injury time, AC Milan scored. Seedorf, the ex of the tie, carried the ball beautifully, skipping past both Conceiçao e Cristiano Zanetti, and ended up within shooting range. But the Dutchman had other ideas. Clarence got his head up and picked out the run of Shevchenko, feeding the Ukrainian with an inch-perfect ball to stick past the onrushing Toldo, 1-0 to AC Milan. The goal changed everything.
ABBIATI THE HERO
Inter sent on Dalmat and Martins to start the second half, while there were no changes for AC Milan. Cuper's side pushed hard in search of an equaliser but the Rossoneri held firm thanks to some stout defending and the saves of an on-fire Abbiati in goal. In the 84th minute, a second goal was scored. Inter equalised through Martins, who won the duel with Abbiati after having beaten Maldini in the challenge. The Nerazzurri had to keep pushing though; as it stood, at 1-1, AC Milan would still be going through on away goals. Christian Abbiati, however, was in stunning form. The goalkeeper for our Centenary Scudetto came off his line to smother Kallon's effort before producing another splendid stop to deny Cordoba from a corner. That was all she wrote, Veissière brought the match to a close and kicked off the party for the Rossoneri, who were back in the Final for the first time in eight years.
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