Congratulations FC Barcelona!
It was a match with huge build up and high expectations, FC Barcelona were heavy favorites to lift the trophy and they did just that. Goals from Pedro, Lionel Messi & David Villa were enough to see the Catalan Giants lift and impressive 4th Champions League title. Today’s game was a rematch of the 2009 final at Rome in which Barcelona defeated United 2-0 with goals from Samuel Eto’o & Lionel Messi.
This encounter was played at the famous Wembley Stadium infront of 87,695 screaming fans, the last time these two teams played they broke the record for TV viewers for a sporting even out doing the Super Bowl, the viewing audience for to was a record of 300 Million viewers.
Manchester United started the match in high spirits and were closing down the Barcelona players quickly so they won’t get comfortable on the ball, this tactic was working very well but that high intensity pressure could only last for a limited time. The start to the match was reminiscent of the 2009 Final which for me was very worrying, i couldn’t even cheer the wonderful play because i was so terrified that United would concede and so they did.
Pedro Rodriguez was played in on goal after a wonderful by captain Xavi Hernandez after a defensive mix up by United and the Spanish international calmly passed the ball into the net beating van der Sar at his near post to give the favorites a deserved 1-0 lead. Before the goal Barcelona had gotten control of the match and were in control of possession so it was not a matter of if a goal will come but when, a question which was answered by Pedro in the 27th minute.
Just when you thought Barcelona would gon on and dominate the game The Reds’ hit back in the form on Wayne Rooney 7 minutes later, after a series off passing between Rooney and co. the ball landed to Ryan Giggs who seemed to be slightly offside who played the ball into the path of Wayne Rooney who slammed a curling effort pass a diving Victor Valdes sending the Wembley in an uproar, the first half ended with the scores level leaving the spectators wanting more of this excitement.
The second half of the match saw the Barcelona that many teams this season were all too familiar with, the Catalan Giants came out in the 2nd half with hunger in their eyes and quickly jumped on United who were struggling to get back into gear. This slow start to the second half proved to be costly for United as Barcelona piled on the pressure and got their second goal of the match from the best football player on the planet Lionel Messi.
Messi had picked the ball up from 20 yards out and was surprisingly wide open and he took advantage of this space a fired a shot pass a diving Edwin van der Sar, neither Vidic or Evra was fast enough to deny the Argentine a shot on goal and United paid the price. Questions have to be asked of United as to why nobody was within 2 yards of the most dangerous footballer on the planet.
Now with their lead restored is was business as usual for the Catalans’ who started to stroke the ball around the field leaving the United to chase shadows. Down two goals to one United still had a fighting chance, no team is careless enough to count out a United side with plenty of time remaining on the clock with The Reds’ having a history of comeback victories.
Today unfortunately wasn’t one of those days as Barcelona got a third and title deciding goal in the 69th minute from a curling shot from David Villa who had been in a goal scoring drought as of late that landed in the top corner. Once again United had done themselves some injustice with this one as they failed to clear their lines and gave the ball away allowing Villa to get his curling effort, Lionel Messi was once again instrumental in creating this goal.
United did make a few substitutions in the match to see if they can get back into the match with the likes of Paul Scholes and Luis Nani replacing Antonio Valencia and Fabio Da Silva. These two changes did add soe lift to the United team but it was too little too late as The Reds’ run for a 4th Champions League title came to an end when referee Viktor Kassai blew the final whistle.