Thursday, 24 May 2007

Serie A reiterates star quality

Italy has joined Spain as the most successful country in the history of the European Cup after AC Milan defeated Liverpool 2-1 in Athens last night to move Serie A on to eleven victories in total.

Spain reached that mark last year in Paris when Barcelona came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 and add their second crown to the nine won by their great rivals Real Madrid, a collection including successes in the first five editions of club football's blue-riband event. Madrid stand alone as the most-titled team in the competition, although the Rossoneri are within two triumphs of that tally after Filippo Inzaghi's first-half strike saw off Liverpool in the Greek capital. Inter and Juventus are the other Italian sides to have reigned in Europe, each on two occasions.

Liverpool remain on five victories - their last coming so memorably against Milan in Istanbul in 2005 - as the third-best team in the tournament annals. English clubs also stay stuck on ten wins, although supporters can take pride from being the only nation to have produced four European champions with Manchester United (2), Nottingham Forest (2) and Aston Villa also savouring glory.

Next in the honours' list are the Netherlands and Germany, their six triumphs fuelled by the successes of four-time winners Ajax and Bayern Munich. Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven have also been continental kings while Hamburger and Borussia Dortmund have prevailed once apiece for the Bundesliga. Portuguese sides have been the toast of Europe on four occasions, twice each for Benfica and Porto, while Scotland, Romania, Yugoslavia and France have all provided one winner.

[Match Report]

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