And the Dutchman thought he had done so with Chelsea's fourth spotkick, from Ashley Cole.

"I had been close to one or two, especially that one," he said. But it was not skill that thwarted John Terry.

"It is our luck that he slipped," Van der Sar said.

Anderson scored United's first in sudden death, Salomon Kalou struck back for Chelsea. Then Ryan Giggs, on the night he broke Sir Bobby Charlton's record of appearances, stroked his home to leave Nicolas Anelka needing to score to keep his team in it.

"I knew where it was going, I felt it," Van der Sar said, diving to his right to push the ball away and spark delirious celebrations.