Djibril Cisse says Liverpool’s comeback victory in the 2006 FA Cup final was “another Istanbul”.
Liverpool went behind 2-0 and 3-2 to West Ham but a Cisse goal and a double from Steven Gerrard – including a stunning stoppage-time equaliser from long range – paved the way for a penalty shoot-out win.
Cisse had come off the bench in Istanbul as Liverpool came from 3-0 down against AC Milan to win the Champions League final a year earlier, and the memories of both games are clearly just as strong.
“We were 1-0 down and then 2-0 down… Carra [Jamie Carragher] scored an own goal, I remember well!” Cisse told Liverpool’s official website. “We reduced it, I scored and then it went 3-2, then Stevie did something special again and we managed to win on penalties.
“It was another Istanbul, maybe on a lower level, but still it was crazy. When I saw the ball coming out of the box, I watched him [Gerrard] – his position and his desire to hit the ball as hard as possible, and if possible on target – I was like… [puffs cheeks].
“As soon as I heard the ball, I was like, ‘this is trouble for the goalkeeper', and it went in. I think he was the only player on the pitch able to do something like this.”
The final eventually turned out to be Cisse’s last game for the club, as he suffered a broken leg in France’s final warm-up game before that summer’s World Cup in Germany. At the time, he says he had no plans to leave Liverpool but he returned to France with Marseille the following campaign.
“No, at the time I didn’t know. We were happy, we were celebrating, then I went to the national team and I broke my leg,” he said. “No, I don’t think it was the plan. The plan was to go to the World Cup and be as good as possible, and if a player is good, you don’t have the need to sell him.
“It was not the cause of me leaving but I think it helped because after this [Fernando] Torres came. If I went to the World Cup and played in the starting XI and scored goals and played well, you don’t need to sell the player.
“That’s football – you have to take the chance when you have the chance, but I got injured and that’s how it is.”