Stéphane Henchoz has become only the second Swiss footballer to lift the UEFA Cup, after his English club side Liverpool completed a dramatic 5-4 win over Spanish team Alaves in the final of the European competition.
Five years after Ciriaco Sforza lifted the trophy with Bayern Munich, Henchoz was able to follow suit on Wednesday - but only at the end of an incredibly hard fought match that saw nine goals, two sendings off and a dramatic conclusion 28 minutes into extra time.
Henchoz himself was forced into the unaccustomed role of spectator for the second half of the match, after being substituted for tactical reasons in the 56th minute with the score at 3-3.
With 18 minutes of regular time remaining, Liverpool's Robbie Fowler appeared to have scored the winning goal, but the Spanish underdogs came back again with a goal from Jordi Cruyff in the 88th minute.
Henchoz's colleagues in the Liverpool defence were less troubled in extra time, as Alvares paid the price for earlier indiscipline. Two dismissals in the space of 19 minutes, both for second yellow cards, saw the Spanish team reduced to nine men and allowed the English favourites to finally take advantage.
Even then, Liverpool needed a little help from Alaves, with Delfi Geli heading in the decisive "golden" own goal while trying to defend against a Gary McAllister free-kick.
Wednesday's extraordinary win brought Henchoz and his team-mates their third trophy of the season, following their earlier successes in England's two domestic cup tournaments.
Despite having to sit out Wednesday's dramatic climax on the Liverpool bench, Henchoz has been a regular at the heart of the English side's defence all season. In helping earn the former European giants their first continental trophy in 16 years, his reputation as one of the world's best defenders will have been further enhanced.
by Mark Ledsom
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