I went wrong WAY; dudek recalls how in istanbul he didn't listen to penalty instructions.
COLIN LANE IT was the defining moment of his Liverpool carreer - the penalty shoot-out victory in Istanbul which secured the Reds' fifth European Cup.
And in his new book, A Big Pole In Our Goal, former Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek, has revealed for the first time the secret code he and Rafa Benitez used to predict where the AC Milan players would place their spot-kicks.
Here's Jerzy on that famous night on May 25, 2005: It was total chaos on the pitch after extra-time had finished. A combination of tiredness, tension and disbelief that we'd somehow turned the game around made this a very intense period. A couple of lads came over me and said some words of praise: 'Great work Jerzy! Now focus on the penalties. It's your game, you can win this for us!' Carra was the most excited. He pushed me, got right into my face and shouted at me. 'Jerzy, try to do something to put them off. Do you remember Grobbelaar? Be like him, he irritated everyone! Do the wobbly legs! Move around on the goal-line! Distract them!' 'OK Carra, OK, OK! But leave me alone, let me focus on the penalties!' Remember! Do something. You have to do something! Remember Grobbelaar! You have to!" I just kept saying "OK" to Carra as I really wanted to speak about the penalties with Jose Ochotorena, our goalkeeper coach, but I kept what he said in mind. Maybe it was worth a try.
I had a notepad at Feyenoord where I wrote down how different players took their penalties. I read somewhere that similar notes were made by the famous Dutch goalkeeper Hans van Breukelen, who was in the PSV Eindhoven goal on the night they beat Benfica on penalties in the 1988 European Cup final, so I decided to copy him and make notes for myself. My notepad contained information on whether different opponents would take powerful or skilfullyplaced penalties. If they used their right or left foot. Which side of the goal they tended to aim for or whether they would shoot straight down the middle. I'd used the notepad during my time in Holland but at Liverpool I didn't need it.
Rafa was very keen on attention to detail and before the final all the information about AC Milan's penalty and free-kick takers was put on a board in the dressing room. There were also video clips for me to watch of their players taking penalties and set-pieces. Saving penalties is something Rafa had actually worked with me on throughout the season.
'How would you describe penalties?' he said to me. 'Top, low, middle?' You need to look at it differently. He advised me to mentally divide the goal into six squares. Starting from the top right would be squares one, two and three and from the bottom left would be squares four, five and six. I would then look at videos of opposition penalty takers and work out which 'square' they were most likely to strike their penalty towards. It took me four months to truly get my head around it and every so often Benitez would test me. 'Where is Lampard shooting? Which number?' I answered 'six' - the right low corner of the goal - but everyone except myself and Rafa had no clue what we were talking about. We had our own penalty code.
While we were waiting for the shoot-out, which would be taken at the end of the Ataturk Stadium where all six goals had been scored - in front of the AC Milan fans - 'Ocho' took out a list detailing the penalty-taking habits of their players. It was written in our code with each AC Milan player having a number next to his name. It felt like that list was as long as a toilet roll! 'I'm not going to remember all this,' I said to Ocho. 'You need to help me.' I tried to convince him to stand behind the goal to give me instructions, but obviously the referee wasn't going to allow him to do this, so I came up with another plan instead. 'Before each penalty I'm going to look at you. Stand up and raise your hands. If you raise one hand, I'll go left, if you raise two, I'll go right. That's all you can do from the distance, but it will help me.' I'm not sure if many people noticed this, but it was actually Scott Carson who would raise his hands to signal which way I should dive. Ocho would look at his notes and tell him which arm to raise as each of their players walked down towards me. But it wasn't an easy call for Ocho to make. Some players vary their penalties so I could see some consternation in Ocho's face every single time he had to make a decision on which way I should dive.
It reminded me of when ski jumping coaches have to wave a flag to signal when their ski jumper should start his descent down the slope. He is waiting for perfect wind conditions before he waves that flag, but it's a test of nerve as to when he does so in the time allotted before a jump must be made. The ski jumper puts his faith in his coach to make that call and that is what I did with Ocho. Scott's arms would effectively be my flag... I didn't quite stick to Rafa's code!
We had won the Champions League. We were champions of Europe. After being 3-0 behind at half-time. And I had made the crucial penalty save. It was beyond my wildest dreams!
While we were waiting for the presentation, Benitez came over to me on the pitch and, without displaying any emotion, said to me: 'Tell me, Jerzy, why did you dive in completely different directions than we showed you?' He was right. I think I dived three times in the opposite direction than I should have done according to the signals that were being made on the touchline for me from Scott and Ocho. Unlike the incredibly serene Rafa, I hadn't thought of that in the midst of all the celebrations, but I'm glad I did dive the opposite way!
Dudek: A Pole In Our RRPS18.99, now PS14.99 on sportmedia com is also available Jerzy Dudek: A Big Pole In Our Goal RRP PS18.99, now only PS14.99 on sportmedia shop.com Ebook is also available Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek saves Andriy Shevchenko's penalty to win the European Champions League title at the Ataturk Stadium in May, 2005; and celebrating with the trophy (inset, left) COLIN LANE