Thursday, May 28, 2009

Barcelona are the Champions of Europe!

Stadio Olimpico at the onset

PREVIEW
We break the usual track of Premiership games only and head to Rome for the "dream final" at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. The Champions of England go head to head with Champions of Spain.It would be a spectacle with both teams being attacking forces.Manchester United go into the game with the motive of defending their Champions League title and the only team in the Champions League era to do so(earlier it was called the European Cup). Barcelona on the other hand would try to make it a treble winning season after La Liga and Spanish Kings Cup titles.

Rio Ferdinand is back for Manchester United after he shook off his injury.Darren Fletcher is missing due to suspension after picking up a yellow card against Arsenal in the semi finals.

For Barcelona they have defensive problems. Dani Alvez and Eric Abidal are missing due to suspension while, Rafael Marquez is out till the end of the season due to injury.Pep Guardiola also has Theiry Henry and Iniesta at his disposal after they were doubtful earlier for the final.

Manchester United and Barcelona have met once in a European final with the men from Old Trafford emerging 2-1 victorious in 1991.

Watch Sky Sports Gladiators theme for the Champions League here.

Lineups
Barcelona:
Valdes, Puyol (c), Toure, Pique, Sylvinho, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Henry, Eto’o.
Subs: Pinto, Caceres, Gudjohnsen, Krkic, Keita, Rodriguez, Muniesa.

Manchester United:
Van der Sar, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Anderson, Carrick, Giggs (c), Park, Ronaldo, Rooney.
Subs: Kuszczak, Berbatov, Nani, Evans, Rafael, Scholes, Tevez.

MATCH REPORT
Game started off with scrappy play from both sides as they failed to maintain control of the ball and lost possession on many occasions.

Ronaldo was the first person to have a shot on goal with his trademark freekick which Valdez wasn't able to get hold and fell into Park's path who could only earn a corner with Barcelona players getting back to keep the South Korean from scoring.

However Eto'o proved the difference with the first goal in as early as the 10th minute. Iniesta passed the ball to Samuel Eto'o in the box who easily escaped past Vidic and then toed the ball into the back of the net despite a sliding tackle from Michael Carrick. 1-0 to Barcelona. [VIDEO]

As the game progressed Manchester United found it extremely difficult to build an attack as ball barely fell to Anderson and Giggs.This also made it difficult for the attack to build for Ronaldo,Park and Rooney and create chances for Red Devils.

On the other hand, Barcelona grew in confidence and passed the ball in their usual manner. Messi,Xavi and Iniesta passed the ball around beautifully as did Henry and Eto'o who kept Manchester United's defense on their toes.

At half time, Manchester United 0 - 1 Barcelona (Eto'o 10')

Sir Alex made one substitution at half time with Tevez coming on for Anderson.

Thiery Henry continued the dominance for Barcelona as his great piece of trickery and movement ensured he had a free shot inside the box after a slip from Ferdinand but only for Van der Sar to make a good save.

Xavi earned his side a free kick in the 52nd minute and stepped up to take it.His curler hit the left post and went out of play.Dangerous times continued for the English champions.

Messi vs Ronaldo was put a little to rest with the second from Barcelona as Messi leaped the highest courtesy a Xavi ball into the box. The Argentine, one of the smallest on the pitch headed the ball into the back of the net as he lay unmarked with no chance for Van der Sar.Manchester United 0-2 Barcelona. [VIDEO]

Unlike 10years ago,there was not going to be a fabulous comeback.There was no fairy tale ending.Manchester United's efforts were going in vain as Barcelona toyed with them in the box.

It took no time before the final whistle beckoned and 3 added minutes were over too.
At full time,Manchester United 0 - 2 Barcelona (Eto'o 10', Messi 70')

Barcelona are the champions in Rome.Champions of Europe.The better team on the night with a mile. United just didn't have any attacks to bother Barcelona.

Barcelona are the Champions!

[Credits : Videos from Soccer Clips, Picture from UEFA]

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