Manchester United have won the Champions League after a penalty shootout victory against Chelsea.
The match finished 1-1 with Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing his 42nd goal of the season on 26 minutes to give United the lead, only to see Frank Lampard level for Chelsea on the stroke of half-time.
Despite both sides going close, neither could find the killer blow and the match went to penalties.
Edwin van der Sar was the hero for United as he saved Nicolas Anelka’s sudden-death penalty to ensure that the trophy heads to Old Trafford for the first time in nine years and the third time in the club’s history.
After a cagey opening period, it was Manchester United who began to assert themselves as the half wore on and it came as no great surprise when they took the lead on 26 minutes. Perhaps inevitably, the goalscorer was Ronaldo, who converted a Wes Brown cross with a far post header that sailed past the helpless Cech in the Chelsea goal.
Chelsea almost hit back when Van der Sar was forced to react quickly to tip over a wayward header from Rio Ferdinand.
However, Cech was the busier of the two keepers and he was forced to pull off a wonderful double save to keep out Carlos Tevez’s diving header and Michael Carrick’s follow up.
Then, with the first-half drawing to a close and United in command, Chelsea struck through Frank Lampard. Essien’s 25-yard drive took deflections off two United defenders, to drop at the feet of the advancing Lampard who calmly lifted the ball over van der Saar.
The equaliser appeared to galvanise Chelsea and they carried the greater attacking threat after the break. Drogba and Lampard were both denied by the woodwork as Avram Grant’s side took the game to a flagging United.
At the other end, Ryan Giggs, whose appearance as a second half substitute meant that the Welshman took Bobby Charlton’s all-time appearance record for United, was denied by a remarkable, goal-line clearance from John Terry.
Extra time produced few clear cut opportunities and the tempers began to flare as the game drifted towards penalties. Several ugly encounters culminated in the dismissal of Didier Drogba after the Ivorian slapped Nemanja Vidic in the face.
The shootout was all-square until Ronaldo saw his effort parried away by Cech. That miss meant that Chelsea skipper Terry had the chance to win the trophy but he slipped as he took his penalty and his effort rebounded off the post. Moments later, van der Sar was on hand to deny Anelka and the Champions League trophy was heading for Manchester.
Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea
Manchester United won 6-5 on penalties
Manchester United: Cristiano Ronaldo 26
Chelsea: Frank Lampard 45
Red card: Didier Drogba (Chelsea) 117
90 mins: 1-1
105 mins 1-1;
Carlos Tevez scores; Michael Ballack scores
Michael Carrick scores; Juliano Belletti scores
Cristiano Ronaldo misses; Frank Lampard scores
Owen Hargreaves scores; Ashley Cole scores
Nani scores; John Terry misses
Anderson scores; Salomon Kalou scores
Ryan Giggs scores; Nicolas Anelka misses
Manchester United: 1-Edwin van der Sar; 6-Wes Brown (8-Anderson 125), 5-Rio Ferdinand, 15-Nemanja Vidic, 3-Patrice Evra; 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 18-Paul Scholes (11-Ryan Giggs 87), 16-Michael Carrick, 4-Owen Hargreaves; 10-Wayne Rooney (17-Nani 101), 32-Carlos Tevez
Substitutes not used: 29-Tomasz Kuszczak, 22-John O’Shea, 24-Darren Fletcher, 27-Mikael Silvestre
Chelsea: 1-Petr Cech; 5-Michael Essien, 26-John Terry, 6-Ricardo Carvalho, 3-Ashley Cole; 10-Joe Cole (39-Nicolas Anelka 99), 13-Michael Ballack, 4-Claude Makelele (35-Juliano Belletti 124), 8-Frank Lampard, 15-Florent Malouda (21-Salomon Kalou 93); 11-Didier Drogba
Substitutes not used: 23-Carlo Cudicini, 7-Andrii Shevchenko, 12-Jon Obi Mikel, 33-Alex
Referee: Lubos Michel (Slovakia)