Didier Drogba tied the match with a header in the 88th minute, then scored the decisive goal in the shootout as Chelsea beat Bayern Munich to win the Champions League final, 4-3 on penalty kicks, after a 1-1 draw Saturday in Munich.
The unlikely story line of an English team beating a German team on penalties in a high-profile match provided a fitting end to a dramatic night, as Chelsea became Europe’s champion club for the first time.
The often theatrical 34-year-old Drogba, playing possibly his last game for the club as his Chelsea contract expires next month, was at the heart of the show.
Drogba sent goalkeeper Manuel Neuer the wrong way on the final kick of the shootout in front of massed Bayern fans in their home Allianz Arena. Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger missed the previous penalty, hitting the goal post.
The shootout was needed after Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech saved Arjen Robben’s spot-kick early in extra time.
It was awarded for a foul by Drogba, who earned Chelsea an unlikely reprieve.
The club’s Russian owner, Roman Abramovich - whose craving for a Champions League title since 2003 is routinely described as a holy grail - soon responded by firing coach Andre Villas-Boas and promoting assistant Roberto di Matteo to interim coach.
Di Matteo responded by masterminding a stirring comeback against Napoli, a defeat of Benfica, and the epic rearguard action to eliminate Barcelona in the semifinals.
“The way we turned things around against Napoli, Barcelona, I think we deserve this trophy,’’ Drogba said. “The last kick of the season and what a way to do it now.’’
D.C. United 3, Toronto FC 1 - Dwayne De Rosario scored two first-half goals, and D.C. United (7-4-3) handed visiting Toronto its league-record ninth loss to open the season.
Sounders 2, Whitecaps 2 - Fredy Montero scored in the 90th minute to pull visiting Seattle even.
Red Bulls 2, Impact 1 - Dane Richards scored in the 67th minute and New York beat host Montreal to extend its winning streak to five.
Rapids 2, Sporting Kansas City 2 - Tyrone Marshall and Kosuke Kimura scored in the second half to lift host Colorado into a tie.
FC Dallas 1, Union 1 - Gabriel Gomez scored in the 56th minute to help Philadelphia (2-6-2) earn a tie in Frisco, Texas. Blas Perez scored for Dallas (3-6-4) in the seventh minute.
West Ham 2, Blackpool 1 - In a promotion playoff at Wembley Stadium in London, Ricardo Vaz Te scored with three minutes remaining, ending the Hammers’ yearlong absence from the Premier League.
The victory guarantees West Ham more than $100 million in broadcast and other revenue.
Hearts 5, Hibernian 1 - In the first all-Edinburgh final since 1896, Rudi Skacel scored twice at Hampden Park in Glasgow and Hearts won its first Cup title in six years. Hibernian was denied its first title since 1902.