Edwin van der Sar speaking to this month’s FourFourTwo has talked about how he prepared himself for the 2008 Champions League final heroics against Chelsea.
Man Utd won that final against Avram Grant’s Chelsea thanks to Van der Sar who made a decisive spot-kick save from Nicolas Anelka. And now the Dutchman has spoken on how he exactly made his preparations for the penalty shootout.
Van der Sar said, “I remember studying a lot of Chelsea’s penalties on DVD before the match. So, for example, I think I probably analysed about 40 that Frank Lampard had taken in the past.
“I had made plenty of notes and noticed that Nicolas Anelka would almost always take his penalties to the goalkeeper’s right. Later on, I heard that Chelsea had also done their homework on me and learned that I usually dived to my right. So I think their players were told to shoot to my left, which most of them did. I’d anticipated Anelka would choose to shoot the other side, though, and thankfully that is what happened.”
“After I had pushed away his penalty, I felt like I was separated from the world for a couple of seconds. I don’t think I’ll ever experience a more ecstatic moment than when I realised we’d just won the Champions League final and noticed all of my team-mates running towards me.
“It was the highlight of my whole career.”
After both the teams had failed to break down each other during regulation and added time at Moscow the match went into a penalty shootout. Petr Cech though was the first keeper who blocked a shot during the night when the Blues keeper kept out Cristiano Ronaldo. But then Chelsea captain, John Terry made that infamous slip and saw his spot-kick fly past the post and into the crowd.
And then it was Van de Sar’s time to shine as he managed to keep out Nicolas Anelka and in doing so he handed Manchester United their third top-flight European title.