Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd
Barcelona 3 - 1 Man Utd
Barcelona delivered a masterclass to inflict another Champions League final defeat on Manchester United as Lionel Messi inspired an emphatic victory at Wembley.
Manchester United's hopes of emulating their first European Cup final success here against Benfica in 1968 foundered as Barcelona deservedly repeated their win against Sir Alex Ferguson's side in Rome two years ago.
The pattern of an entertaining game bore an uncanny resemblance to events in the Stadio Olimpico in 2009 as United started with optimism and intent before being swamped by Barcelona's brilliance.
Pedro gave Barcelona the lead from one of the many wonderful passes played by Xavi - but Wayne Rooney lifted the gloom during a torrid spell for United with a fine equaliser following a swift exchange with Ryan Giggs.
Barcelona responded by cranking up what Ferguson labelled their passing "carousel" after the break, with man-of-the match Messi at the centre of events as he tortured United.
Messi's magical feet were decorated by luminous green boots but it was his talent that illuminated Wembley and United's night was effectively over once he restored Barcelona's lead with a powerful drive early in the second half.
David Villa's spectacular third emphasised the gulf in class between the sides and United never threatened to mount the sort of dramatic recovery that has become their trademark.
Ferguson and his players were disconsolate at the final whistle as the nightmare of Rome was revisited but there was no shame in their defeat by one of the finest club sides the game has seen.
There was to be no fulfilling of the destiny United hoped was theirs and no dream conclusion to goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar's glittering career as he was powerless to prevent Barcelona's constant wave of beautifully crafted moves.
And as veteran Paul Scholes, who made a brief appearance as substitute, walked up to collect his losers' medal, thoughts turned to whether this was also his final bow as he considers his future at Old Trafford.
United had hoped to add a fourth victory in Europe's elite club tournament to a record 19th domestic title - instead they received a brutal lesson in the standards they must achieve from the Barcelona benchmark.
Ferguson insisted he had learned the lessons of defeat in Rome but the same problems swiftly resurfaced as Barcelona stamped their authority on midfield and Messi roamed free to inflict damage, adding another Champions League final goal to the one that sealed victory against United in their previous meeting.
United may dominate in England but Barcelona demonstrated once more, in front of Wembley and an estimated television audience of 300m, that they are peerless on the European stage.
Ferguson, as expected, opted to keep faith with the attacking partnership of Rooney and Javier Hernandez - but there was bitter disappointment for leading scorer Dimitar Berbatov, who failed to even make the substitutes' bench, Michael Owen getting the nod.
United's intentions were clear in the opening exchanges with a high-tempo approach designed to deny Barcelona time and space while pushing them back towards their own goal.
After early encouragement, however, Barcelona settled into their smooth passing style and started to give United a rough ride as they struggled to maintain any measure of authority and control was lost.
Pedro flashed the first ominous sign with a shot just wide before Van der Sar saved well low down from Villa. The goal was coming and it duly arrived after 27 minutes.
Xavi had been immaculate on the ball, dictating terms at every opportunity, and another masterly piece of creation played in Pedro, who had time to wrong-foot Van der Sar with a simple finish.
United's thoughts were scrambled as Barcelona moved the ball around with ease. Ferguson cut an agitated figure in the technical area as he pleaded with his players to concentrate in the face of the Catalans' domination.
It needed a moment of inspiration to lift United's spirits and Rooney provided it with the equaliser after 34 minutes. He exchanged passes with Giggs before sweeping a right-foot finish high past Victor Valdes.
Barcelona were swift to regain their composure and almost restored their advantage seconds before the interval when Messi somehow failed to apply the final touch to Villa's cross inside the six-yard area.
United were out early for the second half, presumably with the words of Ferguson ringing in their ears, while Barcelona waited in the players' tunnel for the resumption.
And when it did, Barcelona simply picked up the theme that characterised the first half. Van der Sar did well to block Alves' attempt and Patrice Evra was forced to scramble back towards his own goal to head away Messi's follow-up.
“ Lionel Messi - 10/10. Irresistible all evening, United couldn't get anywhere near him”
Messi's golden talent is unquestioned, but he had been helped by United's failure to get close enough to halt his advances. It was a hazardous occupation and the heavy price was finally paid after 54 minutes.
The Argentine took full advantage of United's failure to close him down 25 yards out by flashing a shot past Van der Sar with minimum backlift. The finish was central and close to the keeper but it was struck with astonishing power.
Messi was toying with United and Van der Sar was grateful to save with his legs as he threatened once more. He then played in Alves, whose shot was stopped on the line by Fabio before Xavi ripped in another finish that was held by the Dutchman.
Ferguson attempted to stem Barcelona's tide by sending on Nani for Fabio in a positive move - but seconds later Barcelona struck again to give the scoreline a more realistic appearance.
Villa has had a mixed first season at the Nou Camp but his enduring class was evident when he curled a precise shot high past the outstretched arms of Van der Sar after 69 minutes.
The rest of the game was merely a conclusion of the formalities as Barcelona lifted the famous trophy for the fourth time and United were left to wonder how they can halt what seems to be an unstoppable force.
- 01 Valdes Booked
- 02 Alves Booked (Puyol - 88' )
- 03 Pique
- 22 Abidal
- 06 Xavi
- 08 Iniesta
- 14 Mascherano
- 16 Busquets
- 07 Villa (Keita - 86' )
- 10 Messi
- 17 Pedrito (Afellay - 90' )
- 38 Olazabal
- 05 Puyol
- 21 Adriano Correia
- 15 Keita
- 20 Afellay
- 30 Thiago
- 09 Bojan
- 01 Van der Sar
- 03 Evra
- 05 Ferdinand
- 15 Vidic
- 20 F Da Silva (Nani - 69' )
- 11 Giggs
- 13 Park Ji-sung
- 16 Carrick Booked (Scholes - 76' )
- 25 Valencia Booked
- 10 Rooney
- 14 Hernandez
- 29 Kuszczak
- 12 Smalling
- 08 Anderson
- 17 Nani
- 18 Scholes
- 24 Fletcher
- 07 Owen
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.90:00 +2:13
Ibrahim Afellay takes a shot. Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.90:00 +1:27 Substitution
Substitution Ibrahim Afellay is brought on as a substitute for Rodriguez Pedro.90:00 +1:11
The ball is swung over by Wayne Rooney, clearance by Gerard Pique.90:00 +0:25
Andres Iniesta takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save made by Edwin Van der Sar.89:47
Unfair challenge on Patrice Evra by Rodriguez Pedro results in a free kick. Patrice Evra takes the free kick.89:05
A cross is delivered by Patrice Evra.87:29
Hernandez Xavi restarts play with the free kick.87:29 Substitution
Substitution Da Silva Dani Alves leaves the field to be replaced by Carles Puyol.87:29
Free kick awarded for a foul by Wayne Rooney on Gerard Pique.86:37
Foul by Antonio Valencia on Sergio Busquets, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Andres Iniesta.85:10 Substitution
Substitution David Villa goes off and Seydou Keita comes on.84:52 Booking
Booking Victor Valdes is cautioned.84:34
Luis Nani has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses right.83:57
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Villa by Ji-Sung Park. Direct free kick taken by Sergio Busquets.82:23
Unfair challenge on Lionel Messi by Paul Scholes results in a free kick. Hernandez Xavi takes the free kick.80:08
Ryan Giggs challenges Hernandez Xavi unfairly and gives away a free kick. Lionel Messi restarts play with the free kick.79:03
Free kick taken by Sergio Busquets.79:03 Booking
Booking Caution for Antonio Valencia.78:57
Antonio Valencia concedes a free kick for a foul on Lionel Messi.
Substitution Paul Scholes on for Michael Carrick.70:32
Shot by Wayne Rooney from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.68:55
The assist for the goal came from Sergio Busquets.68:55 Goal scored
Goal! - David Villa - Barcelona 3 - 1 Man Utd David Villa scores a goal from just outside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd.68:28
Short corner taken by Lionel Messi from the right by-line.68:03 Substitution
Substitution Luis Nani replaces Fabio Da Silva.66:30
Andres Iniesta takes a shot. Save by Edwin Van der Sar.65:37
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Hernandez Xavi, clearance made by Nemanja Vidic.65:22
Hernandez Xavi takes a shot. Save by Edwin Van der Sar.64:19
Da Silva Dani Alves produces a cross.62:43
Lionel Messi takes a shot. Save by Edwin Van der Sar.61:27
The ball is sent over by Antonio Valencia.60:47
Free kick taken by Hernandez Xavi.60:47 Booking
Booking The referee books Michael Carrick for unsporting behaviour.60:41
Andres Iniesta fouled by Nemanja Vidic, the ref awards a free kick.59:13
Nemanja Vidic restarts play with the free kick.59:13 Booking
Booking Da Silva Dani Alves shown a yellow card.59:07
Patrice Evra fouled by da Silva Dani Alves, the ref awards a free kick.58:29
Unfair challenge on Andres Iniesta by Antonio Valencia results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Eric Abidal.56:45
The assistant referee signals for offside against Eric Abidal. Direct free kick taken by Edwin Van der Sar.55:37
Unfair challenge on Lionel Messi by Antonio Valencia results in a free kick. Andres Iniesta takes the free kick.54:36
The assistant referee signals for offside against Javier Hernandez. Free kick taken by Victor Valdes.53:08 Goal scored
Goal! - Lionel Messi - Barcelona 2 - 1 Man Utd Lionel Messi gets on the score sheet with a goal from long range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Barcelona 2-1 Man Utd.52:02
Hernandez Xavi takes a short corner.51:44
Da Silva Dani Alves takes a shot. Save made by Edwin Van der Sar.50:18
Javier Hernandez gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on da Silva Dani Alves. Free kick taken by Javier Mascherano.48:33
Ji-Sung Park concedes a free kick for a foul on da Silva Dani Alves. Javier Mascherano takes the free kick.47:40
Free kick awarded for a foul by Gerard Pique on Nemanja Vidic. Edwin Van der Sar takes the direct free kick.46:59
Short corner worked by Hernandez Xavi.46:50
Andres Iniesta takes a shot. Blocked by Michael Carrick.46:26
Andres Iniesta takes a shot. Blocked by Nemanja Vidic.45:48
Short corner taken by Hernandez Xavi.45:34
Javier Mascherano crosses the ball, Nemanja Vidic manages to make a clearance.45:01
The game restarts for the second half.45:00 +0:13 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.42:58
A cross is delivered by David Villa.42:08
David Villa gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nemanja Vidic. Direct free kick taken by Nemanja Vidic.40:25
Antonio Valencia gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lionel Messi. Direct free kick taken by Hernandez Xavi.38:22
Andres Iniesta takes a shot. Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.36:12
Shot by Hernandez Xavi from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.35:26
Foul by Antonio Valencia on Lionel Messi, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Sergio Busquets.33:08
Assist by Ryan Giggs.33:08 Goal scored
Goal! - Wayne Rooney - Barcelona 1 - 1 Man Utd Wayne Rooney finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Barcelona 1-1 Man Utd.31:54
Foul by Ryan Giggs on Lionel Messi, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Eric Abidal.30:39
Da Silva Dani Alves concedes a free kick for a foul on Patrice Evra. Wayne Rooney restarts play with the free kick.29:34
The ball is sent over by da Silva Dani Alves.28:06
Unfair challenge on Sergio Busquets by Antonio Valencia results in a free kick. Andres Iniesta takes the free kick.26:50
Assist on the goal came from Hernandez Xavi.26:50 Goal scored
Goal! - Rodriguez Pedro - Barcelona 1 - 0 Man Utd Rodriguez Pedro scores a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Barcelona 1-0 Man Utd.20:43
David Villa takes a shot. Save by Edwin Van der Sar.20:09
The assistant referee flags for offside against Javier Hernandez. Javier Mascherano takes the direct free kick.19:22
David Villa has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area which goes wide right of the goal.15:07
A cross is delivered by Hernandez Xavi, Lionel Messi has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.12:25
Javier Hernandez is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Gerard Pique.11:14
Lionel Messi crosses the ball, Rio Ferdinand manages to make a clearance.10:26
Hernandez Xavi decides to take a short corner.6:51
The offside flag is raised against Javier Hernandez. Victor Valdes takes the indirect free kick.5:43
The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Victor Valdes.3:23
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andres Iniesta by Fabio Da Silva. Sergio Busquets takes the free kick.0:46
Centre by Wayne Rooney, save made by Victor Valdes.0:00
The referee gets the game started.
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