“Rome 2009 revisited. A bright start from Manchester United before being outclassed long before the end by Barcelona. More bitter disappointment for United but there is no shame in defeat against one of the finest club sides the game has seen.”
FULL-TIME: Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd
It is the fourth time Barcelona have lifted the European Cup after goals from Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa. Wayne Rooney had earlier equalised for Man Utd in a thrilling match.
Minute by Minute Commentary by BBC Online.
At the magnificent amphitheatre that is Wembley, the home of football, the two greatest teams of their generation did battle to win the Champions League: the most precious prize on offer in the domestic game. Two years ago it was the Spanish matadors that reigned supreme in Rome, but today, the English lions have revenge in their sights and desire in their hearts.
01 Valdesyellow card
02 Danielyellow card (Puyol 88)
07 Villa (Keita 86)
17 Pedrito (Afellay 90+2)
38 Olazabal, 05 Puyol, 21 Adriano Correia, 15 Keita, 20 Afellay, 30 Thiago, 09 Bojan
01 Van der Sar
20 Fabio Da Silva (Nani 69)
13 Park Ji-Sung
16 Carrickyellow card (Scholes 76)
25 Valenciayellow card
29 Kuszczak, 12 Smalling, 08 Anderson, 17 Nani, 18 Scholes, 24 Fletcher, 07 Owen
Nice and prompt, amid a cacophony of Wembley noise, Manchester United get the 2011 Champions League Final up and running against Barcelona. Massive.
Two minutes in and it’s been encouraging for Manchester United so far – with, notably, Wayne Rooney really enjoying something like a free role behind Javier Hernandez early doors.
First glimpse of Lionel Messi with the ball at his feet… his progress halted brilliantly by a back-tracking Ji-sung Park. Manchester United, in their changed white strip, buzzing about their exalted opponents in the opening exchanges and it’s been a very encouraging start for Sir Alex’s boys.
We’re 14 minutes in and, for the first time, Barcelona are able to work some possession football. Man Utd sitting back a touch for now, allowing their opponents room until they hit the attacking third. There might be a fair bit of that from Sir Alex’s side tonight.
Barcelona 1-0 Man Utd (Pedro)
To say it’s been coming would be an under-statement, but what a fine goal this is. Xavi is the creator, the Barca skipper’s sublime flicked pass finding Pedro, who side-foots past Edwin van der Sar from 12 yards. United staring down the barrel, Barcelona buoyant.
According to the boys on ITV, Barcelona have completed 265 passes to Man Utd’s 100 so far. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side looking more than a little punch-drunk – what can they do to stem the tide?
Barcelona 1-1 Man Utd (Rooney)
They can score a cracking equaliser totally against the run of play, that’s what. Fabulous link-up play between Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, the Welshman’s return pass fired into the top corner of the Barcelona net 16 yards out by the England frontman for a fantastic finish. Game. On.
The Man Utd equaliser has taken a little of the wind out of Barcelona’s sails – but not a huge amount, the Spanish giants settling right back into their passing rhythm straight from the restart. Andres Iniesta tries his luck from range, but Edwin van der Sar is well behind it to save comfortably.
Superb counter-attack from Barcelona, Lionel Messi bursting at the Man Utd defence, feeding David Villa, and going with an inch of getting on the end of the Spaniard’s return pass and prodding home six yards out. Top move.
Barcelona 1-1 Man Utd
BBC Sport’s Jonathan Stevenson at Wembley
“The stats say Barca have dominated – eight shots to United’s two, 365 passes completed (87% of total passes) to 139 (67% success) and the Spaniards have had 67% of the ball too. But the most crucial one says we’re 1-1, and Pep Guardiola will know that United will ruthlessly punish any more profligacy. Poised to perfection.”
Barcelona right on to the front foot at the start of this half, first Javier Mascherano causing problems with a striding run out from the back to the edge of the Man Utd box – his cross is blocked – and then Xavi’s shot from range is blocked by Nemanja Vidic.
Fine save! Andres Iniesta picks a perfect pass to release the onrushing Dani Alves in the Man Utd box, but the Brazilian’s low shot is kept out well by Edwin van der Sar, who spread himself brilliantly. Lionel Messi, on the follow-up, see his shot headed away from goal by Nemanja Vidic. Barca knocking on the door again already.
Barcelona 2-1 Man Utd (Messi)
It’s his first ever goal on English soil… but the one-man headline-making machine has struck at just the right time for Barcelona. Lionel Messi picks the ball up 25 yards out and is afforded all the time in the world to take a touch and drill home from outside the area. Both the Utd defence and Edwin van der Sar might have done better – but Messi can be one of those players: unstoppable.
2101 YELLOW CARD
Approaching the hour mark and we’ve got our first booking of the game – Dani Alves having his name taken for a trip on Patrice Evra. Referee Viktor Kassai has done pretty well tonight, if you ask me.
And within seconds we have our second booking of the match – United midfielder Michael Carrick rightly cautioned for an ill-timed lunge at Andres Iniesta.
Another minute, another Barcelona attack, another chance – Lionel Messi’s flick from Dani Alves’ cut-back stopped on the line by Fabio. Moments later, Xavi’s ripper from range is kept out on the stretch by Edwin van der Sar. United being battered at the back right now. Battered.
Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd (Villa)
Another superb goal and Manchester United’s ‘mission improbable’ is looking more like ‘mission impossible’ by the minute. Lionel Messi is brilliant on the right, Nani fails to clear properly inside the United box, and David Villa responds by curling Sergio Busquets’s lay-off into the top corner from 20 yards. Pearler.
2126 YELLOW CARD
Moments after Nani fires wide after cutting in well from the right, Victor Valdes is booked for wasting time on the restart.
Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd
BARCELONA WIN THE 2011 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand:
“We could have played better but Barcelona were the better side. We could have done better on a couple of the goals. We got caught out. Time will tell if they are the greatest side ever but they are definitely a great side. We came here to win and we honestly believed we could do it. But in the end the better team won.”
Man Utd captain Nemanja Vidic:
“We didn’t do enough to cause them problems on the ball. They don’t play a striker because Villa and Pedro cut in from the wing so it is easy for misunderstandings in defence. They play great football and deserve to win.”
Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano:
“We are very happy. We beat a fantastic team but we’re happy because we played in the way we know how to play. It is very good to win the Champions League for any footballer. Also, Liverpool fans were a little bit sad after my exit so this is for them as well!”
Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar, who retires this summer:
“It was one game too many, I think. It’s never nice to lose. They had the better chances but we made one or two mistakes and they punish you. We had to score the first goal and we didn’t do that. Of course it’s not how I wanted my last game to go, but you can’t always choose how football goes.”
- Barcelona will be playing in their 17th European final, breaking the record of 16 they share with Real Madrid.
- Barca have won 10 and lost six.
- Wembley was the venue for both teams’ first European Cup win – Man United in 1968 and Barcelona in 1992.
- Real Madrid (Paris and Glasgow), Liverpool (Rome) and AC MIlan (Athens) are the only teams to have won the trophy in the same city more than once.
- This is the sixth repeat of a European Cup/Champions League final, after their meeting in 2009. Twice the repeats went the same way, but three times it was a different side celebrating.
Complete reports: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/13576522.stm