Claudio Pizarro masterminded a dramatic Werder Bremen turnaround at San Siro, beating Dida with two second-half headers to send favourites AC Milan crashing out of the UEFA Cup on the away-goals rule.
Having drawn 1-1 in the first leg in Germany, first-half goals from Andrea Pirlo and Pato looked to have smoothed Milan’s path to the Round of 16, but it will be Thomas Schaaf’s side who play AS Saint-Etienne in the next round after Pizarro atoned for an early miss with two goals in the second half to dump Carlo Ancelotti’s side out of the competition.
Having scored for Bremen against FC Internazionale Milano at San Siro in the UEFA Champions League group stage earlier this season, Peruvian Pizarro fired wide from close range in the first two minutes. Team-mates Diego and Torsten Frings went on to test Dida early on before the former handled David Beckham’s free-kick in the box to gift Milan a penalty.
Pirlo duly converted in the 27th minute, and Bremen’s luck looked to be out when six minutes later Brazilian prodigy Pato blasted home a second from 15 metres. Dida then kept Bremen at bay by saving from Hugo Almeida and Pizarro again as half-time approached but the eleventh-placed side in the Bundesliga were not disheartened and Diego, Pizarro and substitute Markus Rosenberg all went close before Bremen finally hit back.
Diego’s excellent free-kick allowed the 30-year-old Pizarro to nod his side back into contention in the 68th minute, prompting Bremen to pile forward in search of the decisive equaliser. Pizarro got it with 12 minutes remaining as he headed past Dida from substitute Sebastian Boenisch’s cross, and though both sides had chances to put the result beyond question late on, Bremen held on to secure one of the most celebrated draws in recent UEFA Cup history.