Reds beat Moscow to win Super Cup

26 August 2005

Djibril Cisse produced one of his finest performances in a Liverpool shirt as Rafael Benitez's men came from behind to beat CSKA Moscow after extra-time in the European Super Cup in Monaco.

The French forward came off the bench to drag the Reds level with just eight minutes remaining before notching a second at the end of the first-half in extra-time to help steer the European Cup winners to victory over the UEFA Cup holders.

Luis Garcia wrapped up a 3-1 triumph in the dying seconds with a superb header from a Cisse cross to ensure stand-in skipper Jamie Carragher could mark his big day in style by joining the legendary list of names to lift a trophy as Liverpool captain.

It has so often the way that the UEFA Cup winners can come out on top in this showpiece occasion and it looked on the cards again in the early exchanges after Daniel Carvalho rounded Pepe Reina and fired in from a tight angle to give CSKA the lead on 28 minutes.

It was an advantage they held through to and beyond the interval with Liverpool's second-half improvement hindered by a flurry of glorious missed opportunities.

It seemed like it would not be Rafael Benitez's day, but when he opted to replace John Arne Riise with Cisse on 79 minutes it was an inspired decision that ultimately bore fruit.

Within three minutes the enigmatic Frenchman had made the best possible impact, running clean through to fire the equaliser into an empty net after a CSKA defender's clearance had rebounded off his hand and over goalkeeper Akeef.

It was the bit of fortune Liverpool had needed and having looked on the verge of leaving Monaco empty-handed, they found a new lease of life in extra-time and took the lead on 103 minutes.

A long ball by Dietmar Hamann caused problems in the CSKA defence, allowing Cisse a clear run on goal and although the striker saw his first effort blocked, his luck was in and he gleefully slid the rebound home to grab his second of the match.

With time running out the Russians pushed forward in an attempt to force a penalty shoot-out, leaving space for the Reds to exploit, which they did courtesy of Garcia's match-clinching header.

In the absence of the injured Steven Gerrard, stand-in skipper Carragher stepped forward to lift the trophy and admitted it was a special moment for him to collect the cup.

"It is nice to win this trophy and we're looking to win as many as we can now," said Carragher.

"We were without Stevie (Gerrard) tonight but it was nice to lift the cup and a great honour.

"To captain Liverpool in any game is special, but to do it in a final, particularly on an occasion like this, is one of the proudest of nights of my life."