Barcelona convincingly beat Manchester United in the European Champions League Final on Saturday at Wembley. United started brightly and attacked for the first 10 minutes, but it was pretty much all downhill for them from then on. Once Barcelona began their passing game Man Utd struggled to get any valuable possession of the ball.
Pedro shot just wide and Van Der Sar saved a Villa shot low in the corner of his net. But the first goal was inevitable and when Xavi played in Pedro he wrong footed Van der Sar and finished well.
Barcelona continued to move the ball around at their leisure, United could do nothing but foul them and how Valencia was not sent off, or booked earlier than he was, remains a mystery. Sir Alex was bursting a gasket on the sidelines, screaming at his players and going purple in the face. Then, totally against the run of play, Rooney produced a moment of genius that he gets paid the big bucks for. He had a quick exchange of passes with Giggs and then swept home a right foot shot past Valdes on 34 minutes.
But Barcelona quickly took back the advantage and Messi almost restored their lead just before half time, just missing putting away a cross from Villa inside the six yard box.
In the second half Barca picked up where they left off. Alves and Messi had early shots stopped. But eventually Messi produced what he had been threatening all evening and on 54 minutes he flashed a shot past Van der Sar from 25 yards out. Van der Sar, at 41 and in his last game for United, was really the difference between Barcelona and a Rugby score. He saved with his legs from Messi and held a shot from Xavi. Barcelona were coming at United from all angles. Just when I was thinking Villa was having a quiet period, he curled a shot past Van der Sar on 69 minutes to make the score line more realistic.
|With the final score of 3-1 Barcelona claimed the Champions League Trophy for the second time in 3 years.|
Arsenal and Real Madrid have proved this season that they can be beaten, but on Saturday’s form I’m not sure that anyone could have. They are certainly the best side in the world at the moment and many commentators are saying of all time. I’m not going to argue with that. Will the deep pockets of Manchester City and Chelski come in to split up this irresistible combination? Somehow I doubt it, Barcelona players are well paid and anyone leaving would know that they are moving to a worse side. On top of this I have never known them to be a selling side. I only remember them releasing big name players in exchange for equally big names, or when they were past their best. So it looks like this trophy could be settling in Catalonia for the foreseeable future.
By Max Power