'Revelry continued long after dawn'

On a rollercoaster ride from jubilation to despair and rejoicing, Liverpool fan Jack Blanchard travelled the distance
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The Independent Football

Our mood before the game had been jubilant, not even dampened by the Turkish authorities' shocking organisation that had left us in a three-hour traffic jam along the single access road to a ground where food, drinks and programmes were nowhere to be seen. When faced with miles of tailbacks, supporters leapt from the buses and marched to the ground on foot.

Our mood before the game had been jubilant, not even dampened by the Turkish authorities' shocking organisation that had left us in a three-hour traffic jam along the single access road to a ground where food, drinks and programmes were nowhere to be seen. When faced with miles of tailbacks, supporters leapt from the buses and marched to the ground on foot.

Inside the stadium, fans danced for an hour before kick-off. Yet the first half unfolded like the most horrific nightmare - humiliation. All around us faces were pictures of tortured misery. One bloke had sat slumped in the aisles, head in hands, since Milan's first goal; frustration and despair saw fans almost turning on one another. Some people even walked out. Many more would have joined them had they not travelled the 1,300 miles. "We're gonna win 4-3," we sang, not believing it for a moment.

But then came those seven minutes of hysteria. One guy told me he'd spent the rest of the half in the first aid tent giving water and paracetamol to his five-year-old son, who had collapsed when Xabi Alonso hit the equaliser.

People were shaking and gasping for breath. And, when the Cup was ours, the old man beside me - who had stood open-mouthed and trembling since the second-half madness had begun, seemingly spending most of the match gaping at the scoreboard - just sat down and wept.

The scenes around Taksin Square after the game were a sight to behold, as flares were set off outside bars and the revelry continued long after dawn.

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