The difference between victory and defeat in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League final boiled down to the width of the post, as Manchester United beat Chelsea in a penalty-kick thriller.
The enduring image will be Chelsea skipper John Terry being inconsolable and in tears after missing the kick that would have taken his team to the title.
Here are the big winners and losers in Moscow following a game for the ages that ended in the most dramatic fashion.
Winner: Nemanja Vidic
The Serbian defender put in a sensational performance for Man United and was arguably
the best player on the field. His presence frustrated Didier Drogba and the Ivorian striker eventually lost his cool by lashing out late at Vidic and getting sent off. Vidic was excellent for United all season long but saved his best effort for when it mattered the most.
Loser: John Terry
The unfortunate Terry showed bags of courage by performing without any protection on the elbow he dislocated less than two weeks ago. Yet the Chelsea captain is condemned to being remembered as the man who had the Champions League crown within his grasp before he sprayed the Blues' fifth penalty woefully wide. Terry was in tears for hours afterwards and the mental scars may remain for some time. He deserved better.
Winner: Cristiano Ronaldo
So nearly the villain after missing a crucial penalty in the shootout, Ronaldo will instead head to the European Championships next month with his reputation as the world's best player intact and a winner's medal in his pocket. His header for the opening goal flew like a rocket past Petr Cech to put the Red Devils in command and showed just why Ronaldo is so dangerous. United fans breathed a sigh of relief after he announced plans to remain at Old Trafford in the summer.
Loser: Ricardo Carvalho
The Chelsea center back looked edgy and nervous and nothing like the composed figure
he had been for most of the season. He did not appear comfortable despite having his long-standing defensive partner Terry alongside him. A yellow card capped off one of his most disappointing displays since he joined Chelsea.
Winner: English Premier League
The exciting and reasonably open nature of the game was a tremendous advert for the English game as the Premiership boasted both finalists for the first time. With money continuing to be invested in both of these clubs despite their amazing collection of talent, the sky is the limit for United and Chelsea. The rich get richer and a spate of new arrivals over the summer can be
expected in Manchester and down in West London.
Loser: Didier Drogba
Television experts before the final questioned which Drogba would turn up – and it turned out to be an angry one. His foolish clip to Nemanja Vidic's face robbed Chelsea of his services for the closing minutes of extra time. More importantly, though, it meant that he missed the penalty shootout, where he would have taken the decisive fifth kick that John Terry eventually missed.
Winners: The Glazer family
United's American owners faced huge opposition from supporters' groups when they took over, but all those complaints are consigned to history now. The Glazers have made money available to Sir Alex Ferguson for transfers and seen the club go from strength to strength. Their investment will climb in value again with the addition of the 2008 trophy to the club's 1999 Champions League victory.
Loser: Roman Abramovich
The Russian billionaire wanted this trophy more than any other – especially in front of a Moscow crowd. Yet he now faces a summer left to rue upon three missed opportunities, with Chelsea having lost in the Champions League final, finished second behind United in the league and surrendered to Tottenham in the Carling Cup. He will continue to chase the big prizes, but if not for a sliver of woodwork, he would be celebrating the ultimate club title already.
- Didier Drogba
- John Terry
- Manchester United
- Cristiano Ronaldo