Andriy Shevchenko, AC Milan legend, acknowledges Liverpool’s incredible 2005 Champions League win in Istanbul: “They earned it.”

Andriy Shevchenko, the legendary Ukrainian footballer who spent much of his career playing for AC Milan, recently spoke out about one of the most iconic moments in Champions League history. In the 2005 final against Liverpool, Milan appeared to have the match in the bag, with a 3-0 lead at half-time thanks to goals from Paolo Maldini and Hernan Crespo. But Liverpool came back with a vengeance in the second half, with goals from Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer, and Xabi Alonso forcing the match into extra time.

Ultimately, the match was decided on penalties, with Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek saving Shevchenko’s attempt from the spot to secure an improbable victory for the Reds. Speaking about the match nearly 18 years later, Shevchenko acknowledged that Liverpool deserved to win.

“Liverpool, you know the moment you lose attention a little bit that they can come back. After that, we concede three goals in six minutes, we continued to play a great game. We created so many chances, and we just believed we could turn this game and could win,” he stated.

“At the end of extra time, I had a great chance and a great save from Dudek. Actually, it’s hard to believe the ball didn’t go in. But this is the beauty of football. Anything can happen, I respect that. You deserved it probably because you believed more than us.”

As for Milan’s current fortunes, the seven-time European champions have sealed a spot in the Champions League semifinals for the first time in 16 years after knocking out Napoli. After a 1-0 victory in Milan, they earned a 1-1 draw at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, with Olivier Giroud scoring for Milan after being set up by Rafael Leao following a stunning solo run by the Portuguese winger. Milan will face the winners of the Inter vs. Benfica matchup in the last four.