Written by By Romea Faine, CNN
Djibril Cisse had given Sunderland the lead in November 2002, but the destiny of a point seemed to hang in the balance as Liverpool’s midfield captain Steven Gerrard readied to take the extra two minutes he would need to send Liverpool in level with Aston Villa.
The visitors were pressing, the atmosphere intense at a packed Villa Park and Gerrard was braced for a challenge like only he could manage.
“Gerrard was coming down that right-hand side, I saw him coming in, I had my head up for it,” Cisse said. “He was coming into me on my weaker side but I saw his sense of space and decision-making was a bit better and got an effort away.”
It wasn’t enough and Liverpool won 3-2. This was Steven Gerrard’s last home appearance for Aston Villa before joining Liverpool FC in summer 2001. Two years later he became one of the most iconic players of all time.
However, Gerrard is set to enter an elite class of players during his final match at Villa Park on Saturday night.
Up until now, only two players from the 2007-2008 Champions League final have scored a brace in the 90th minute of a match at Villa Park.
Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy both scored against Manchester United, with Carrol’s winning goal coming in the 89th minute of a League Cup quarter-final.
The former Liverpool player will make history again when he takes to the field at Villa Park against his former team.
He could finish with goals from both overtimes on the same day.
“I’m incredibly happy and proud to score two goals in such special circumstances,” Gerrard told the BBC. “It would not be right to celebrate that without celebrating the ultimate victory at the end.”
Gerrard isn’t the only man to leave Villa Park a twice in the 90th minute of a match. After a run of 11 games without a win, Aston Villa secured a point against Arsenal in December 2008 when Alan Smith scored with three minutes to go.
“It has happened in different ways,” said Smith. “A goal late on in the game on one of the biggest occasions is difficult to comprehend.
“It has happened to other people in similar situations in their career. It’s part of it. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t want to be remembered for one goal.”