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Home   /   Retro Revisit | Crucial Kluivert sinks the Rossoneri: Ajax 1-0 AC Milan – 1994-95 Champions League Final

Hello everyone, Lee Jackson here presenting the first edition of Retro Revisit and this time we travel back to 1995 and in particular the Ernst-Happel Stadion in Vienna, which hosted a special night in UEFA Champions League history. Two European titans of the game went head to head in the form of AFC Ajax and AC Milan. Two clubs overflowing with history with Ajax looking to secure their fourth and AC Milan looking to retain and capture their sixth.

The young Ajax side came into the match as underdogs as the reigning champions AC Milan won the trophy the previous year with a convincing 4-0 victory of Barcelona. With 12 previous encounters on the board, it was still all square at four wins, four draws and four losses apiece. Both sides coming into the match in good form with no defeats in their last five matches, they were looking to kick on and produce when it really mattered most.

Jari Litmanen of Ajax and Marco Simone of Milan were in good goal scoring form coming into this one after meeting in the group stages prior but who would be the definitive player.

Ajax destroyed German powerhouse Bayern Munich 5-2 in the semi-final as well as AC Milan doing the same to Barcelona winning 3-0. The results set the eagerly anticipated match up to be a cracker but who would come out on top? The lineups for that special night…

AFC Ajax






van Vossen

AC Milan







Courtesy of

KICK OFF! ’01 – It’s Ajax who takes the kick-off and gets us underway here at the Ernst-Happel Stadion.

’02 – Early lofted pass up to Jari Litmanen, who glances it towards the Milan goal. Marc Overmars in hot pursuit of Alessandro Costacurta who clears the ball into the air but is pushed and a foul is given.

’05 – Curved pass down the left flank to Marco Simone as he cuts inside and finds Daniele Massaro, whose attempt at a layoff is snuffed out by Danny Blind with a clean sliding challenge.

’08 – Michael Reiziger drives a pass into frontman Ronald De Boer who lays a nice give and go with Finidi George. De Boer using pace slides the ball into the danger area to try and find Overmars but it is cleared into the air by Franco Baresi and collected by Sebastiano Rossi.

’16 – A circus act from Edwin Van der Sar here, as a dubious headed back pass from Reiziger looks to be pulling up short resulting in the Dutch keeper juggling the ball with great control and clearing it to safety.

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’18 – A dismissal wave away from Romanian referee Ion Crăciunescu, as Christian Panucci drives down the right flank riding the immediate challenge of Frank De Boer, regaining composure only to go down easily under the second challenge in the box. A hint of simulation from the Italian there but no decision.

’20 – A somewhat tame effort from Simone as the ball is pinged into his foot, controlling with a delicate touch and turn immediately galloping down the left. He cuts inside but struggles for any power in the shot which eventually rolls nicely into the palms of Van der Sar.

’24 – AC Milan manager Fabio Capello really becoming animated on the touchline as if he is composing music with an orchestra. Really trying to galvanize his side to break the deadlock and compose an execution of his master plan.

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CHANCE! ’28 – An explosion of chalk kicks up from the surface as Clarence Seedorf delivers an inch-perfect corner kick into the box with Litmanen struggling to head it with any real conviction as it flies over the crossbar.

’31 – Quite a tentative opening half to this final as Ajax edge possession with 53% to Milan’s 47%, neither side really gaining a solid foundation in this match.

🟨 YELLOW CARD ’33 – It’s Overmars who meets the referee’s book early on as he can’t quite nick the ball away from Panucci and takes his leg with a sliding challenge in the process.

’37 – A big kick upfield from Rossi results in problems for Ajax. Blind controls the initial kick but provides a poor back pass to his goalkeeper causing panic at the back. Narrowly escaping embarrassment, Van der Sar manages to clear the ball but not without a slight deflection from the incoming boot of Massaro.

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CHANCE! ’40 – Silky skill from Simone out wide left as he delivers a lovely backheel into the path of Paolo Maldini, who in turn provides a beautiful cross to the back post as Roberto Donadoni squares it back into the danger area with no other than Panucci waiting. He will be having a nosebleed being this high up the pitch as he takes a shot at goal but is in disbelief as a great block deflects the shot on top of the net for a corner.

’42 – Louis Van Gaal channelling his inner Eric Cantona with a flying kick motion to the fourth official, imitating Marcel Desailly’s previous challenge that almost took Litmanen’s head off. Surprisingly it was given as a foul and free kick for AC Milan.

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🟨 YELLOW CARD ’44 – Another Dutch player meets the book as Blind is penalised for a late tackle.

CHANCE! ’45 – Rapid counterattack from AC Milan here as Massaro lays off to Maldini, who sprays a long-range pass across to the right flank in which meets Donadoni with great control. Driving down the wing, he scoops the ball to the back post with an eagerly anticipating Simone firing a left-foot volley towards goal with a parried save from Van der Sar.


’46 – Straight into the thick of the action again as early pressure from Zvonimir Boban managing to dispossess Reiziger and immediately whipping the ball into the front post area, but a heavy clash between the oncoming Simone and Van der Sar brings proceedings to a holt. The medical team rush on to check on the pair.

SUBSTITUTION ’53 – It’s 18-year-old Nwankwo Kanu who replaces Seedorf as Ajax go in search of the crucial first goal.

’55 – Young and aspiring defenders need to study and revolve their game around Maldini. An inch-perfect, world-class recovery challenge from the fullback as a Kanu through ball cuts the defence open to Finidi, but Maldini is there to nick it away from his toe.

CHANCE! ’61 – A lightning-fast turn and shot from Massaro as Demetrio Albertini lofts a pass into him and with great control and technique, narrowly misses the target. Van der Sar was rooted to the spot there.

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SUBSTITUTION ’70 – Previously talked about in the build-up to this final, it’s 18-year-old Patrick Kluivert getting his chance on the biggest stage as he takes the place of Litmanen.

’75 – A feisty battle this final has been with a total of 27 free kicks being given between the sides.

CHANCE! ’76 – Kanu almost gets the crucial deadlock breaker as he pivots to lose his marker and sweetly hits a left-footed shot that goes just wide.

SUBSTITUTION ’84 – Boban has run his course tonight as he is replaced by Gianluigi Lentini.

GOAL! (AJAX 1 – 0 AC MILAN) ’85 – The deadlock has been broken! It’s no other than Kluivert who has made his mark on this final with sublime control to take it away from Baresi and slots it home into the bottom right corner past the sprawling Rossi to put the Dutch side 1-0 up.

’87 – A real dubious attempt at punching the ball clear from Van der Sar as he clatters Simone in the process but was it a penalty? The referee has a call to make it here as the players surround him anticipating a penalty decision. No penalty was given but a moment of madness from Van der Sar there.

SUBSTITUTION ’88 – A change as Milan look to equalise with Massaro making way for Stefano Eranio.


Reflecting on the Match

What a classic tie this was! Despite the lack of goals, the array of talent on show in the final was clear to see. From the charisma of Capello and Van Gaal to the tenacity and intelligence of Maldini and Blind, it was a relatively unknown entity that grabbed the spotlight and scored the only goal of the final. An 18-year-old Kluivert came off the bench when the game was evenly poised and stabbed a shot into the corner of Rossi’s goal to confirm the result of Ajax. This night lives long in the memories of football fans as the number of stars on the pitch and managers on the sidelines were outshone by a young Dutchman by the name of Kluivert.

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