For the first time in the history of the UEFA Champions League, two English clubs contested the 2008 final. But it was Manchester United who were victorious, beating Avram Grant's Chelsea on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Russia.
The Luzhniki Stadium was the venue for Chelsea's first European Cup final, while the game bore significance for United in the year of the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster. Legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson vowed to bring the trophy home in tribute to those involved. The Scot achieved his target and it would be the last European trophy he won with United before announcing his retirement in May 2013.
Having sealed the Premier League title just days before the tie, Ferguson's side got their quest for the Double off to the perfect start when Cristiano Ronaldo rose to meet Wes Brown's cross with a towering, trademark header past Petr Cech. As United controlled most of the first half, Cech was called upon to pull off a smart double save to deny Carlos Tevez and then Michael Carrick to keep his side in the game.
Tevez had another chance to extend the lead but he failed to connect with Wayne Rooney's cross as the spell of dominance continued. United were then made to rue their missed chances when Frank Lampard levelled after Michael Essien's long-range strike was deflected into his path on the stroke of half-time.
The remainder of the game was played out at a frantic pace. Although both teams had a number of chances to go in front, extra-time and eventually penalties were needed to decide the nerve-shredding final. In extra-time Chelsea were reduced to 10 men following Didier Drogba's dismissal for a slap on Nemanja Vidic, meaning they would be without their star striker during the shootout.
The opening spot-kicks were clinical, with Tevez, Michael Ballack, Carrick and Juliano Belletti all finding the net. Goalscoring hero Ronaldo was then thwarted by Cech after his stuttered run up and, after Lampard and Ashley Cole both made no mistakes, Chelsea had the chance to claim the trophy as John Terry stepped up. After treacherous weather throughout the game, the England captain lost his footing on the artificial turf and his effort clipped the post, taking the shootout into sudden death.
Second-half substitute Ryan Giggs then gave United the advantage after Anderson and Salomon Kalou had both converted, leaving Nicolas Anelka needing to score. Edwin van der Sar was equal to the Frenchman's effort and the Red Devils claimed their first European trophy in nine years.
Ferguson was understandably delighted to have sealed the double, bringing an end to United's barren run in penalty shootouts in the process. He said: "It is a fantastic achievement. That is the first shoot-out I have won in a big game." "When Cristiano Ronaldo missed his penalty, we thought we were in trouble but we deserved the win." Ronaldo also described his emotion after missing his spot kick, saying: "It felt like the worst day of my life."
Despite United's success, the defining image of the game proved to be the tears of Terry, who was inches away from lifting the trophy prior to his slip. But he received the backing of his management and team-mates after the game. Grant claimed: "JT is the main reason we are here." While Lampard added: "There are not many centre-halves who will take the last penalty. He slipped and no-one can criticise him. He will be back."
With the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster being the backdrop for United's campaign, sealing a Premier League and Champions League Double proved to be a fitting tribute for Ferguson's side. While for Chelsea, they faced the consequences of a trophyless season as manager Grant was sacked just three days after the game.
This was the Champions League final that started one day and finished the next. With the time difference, we played through Midnight and I remember wanting somebody to tell me when it was 12pm so I could refer to the song 'Midnight in Moscow' by Kenny Ball (anything for a good line...). I also remember how it poured with rain throughout the match. It was strange watching two English teams in Moscow. The drama of the penalties is the abiding memory of the evening and it was all set up for Chelsea when Terry stepped up. There is "many a slip between cup and lip" but this was just one slip and I am happy that Terry will not be cursed by the fact Chelsea would never win the Champions League after the redemption of 2012. The whole evening was a credit for Premier League football. It is not always best for the continent if both finalists come from the same country but since the turn of the century we have had all-Spanish, all-Italian, all-English and in 2013 all-German so we have got used to it.