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UEFA Champions League
May 28, 2011
• 2:45 PM
• Wembley Stadium, London
Referee: V. Kassai
• Attendance: 87695
L. Messi 54'
David Villa 70'
W. Rooney 34'
With that, I'm signing off. I hope you enjoyed my commentary as Barcelona collected another European championship. As always, Godspeed and Golden Balls! Take care, all.
...again, I'm Goal.com's Shane Evans with you. The match is officially over but the coverage doesn't end here. Be sure to stay right here with us for the most comprehensive news, features and analysis on the match that just was. Congratulations, Barcelona, you truly are the best.
The medals will be given soon and the players will collect their well-earned trophy. Great win by the best team in the world. Truly stunning.
As Barca begin it's celebrations, the questions will immediately begin about the future of Manchester United's team.
Barcelona truly is the best team in Europe. The best we have seen in quite some time. An impressive spectacle to behold. Bravo, bravo.
THERE IT IS! BARCELONA IS AGAIN THE CHAMPION OF EUROPE!!!
One more minute and Barca will be crowned Champions!
The whistles start to rain down from the crowd as Barcelona will put on another sub. Afellay for Pedro.
Three minutes of extra time will be added.
90' + 2'
The ball continues to go backwards for United with no time left to do so.
Under one minute to go...
And on the Captain comes for Alves. The Barca faithful love it as he straps on the captain's armband.
Barcelona work on some play-acting to slow the game down. In the meantime, Puyol appears to be coming on for the last few moments...
Yellow Card Víctor Valdés
From that shot wide, Valdes sees yellow for time-wasting. He'll contest it was for the substitution coming on. Villa off, Keita on.
Nani finds himself in some space on the right. Predictably cuts into the middle around Abidal and fires a low shot wide to the near post.
All the whistles are going Barcelona's way at this point.
The Red Devils haven't given up yet. Giggs launches a ball into Hernandez at the corner of the box. Valdes comes and punches clear. Six minutes to go...
Despite this, United is going backwards with its passing. Wrong way, fellas.
10 minutes remain from Wembley, folks.
Shortly after that, United winger Valencia sees yellow for a grumpy challenge as Barca broke.
Yellow Card Antonio Valencia
United rush forward and Giggs flicks it up to avoid Villa who handles but in a safe position. Good no call by the referee.
He replaces Michael Carrick in the middle of the field.
Looks like Paul Scholes is about to come into the match.
The Catalans are going for a fourth here as Messi and Xavi exchange in the area. Van der Sar breaks it up though.
Barca looking very comfortable now, as you do, with a 3-1 lead at this stage.
Goal David Villa
Fabio Da Silva
That will do it, people. Right after the substitution, Villa gets a touch on the ball at the top of the box and curls it wonderfully around Van der Sar into the top corner. Too good, this team is. Too good.
Sir Alex knows United need more time on the ball up front so on comes Nani for Fabio, who appears to have pulled something.
The ball eventually is laid off to Iniesta outside the area and his shot goes right into Van der Sar's hands.
The corner goes direct this time but nothing comes of it initially.
More passing around the top of the area leads to Xavi finding some space. He sends a rocket of a curling shot into to Van der Sar who parries aside for a corner.
Things almost got much worse as Iniesta flicks in Alves who laid it across for Messi. Trying for the back heel flick, the Argentine was stopped on the goalline. Very very close.
Under a half an hour to play here with United still chasing...
Messi shows his complete game as he turns at the top of the box and shoots low on Van der Sar who saves awkwardly.
Yellow Card Michael Carrick
Moments later, Michael Carrick is sucked into a bad tackle by Iniesta and he is also shown a card.
Yellow Card Daniel Alves
As Valencia gets off the hook, Alves is shown yellow for a sloppy and late challenge in the middle of the park.
Valencia picks up another foul and is definitely on the cusp of being cautioned now.
Time for the Red Devils to chase the game again. Can they answer once more?
United jump on things at the other end and...Hernandez is offsides once more. When will the changes come?
Way way way way way too much space for Messi at that point of the field. Vidic looked planted to his spot.
Goal Lionel Messi
Assist Andrés Iniesta Luján
There it is! Messi has two steps of space an thunders a shot home to Van der Sar's near side. All too easy for the Argentine superstar. The Dutchman had no chance at stopping that one.
Barca's best chance of the second comes to Dani Alves who streaks down the right and is played in. He takes a strong shot that Van der Sar pushes wide. Messi latches on the rebound and tries to float in but is deflected away.
United go over the top again to Hernandez who this time is onsides...but can't keep it in bounds.
Iniesta gets a bit of space in the middle and tries the through ball that falls to no one.
Rooney finds himself on the ball and beats Pique goalside with his strength. Ball goes behind for a Barca goal kick. Good work by Wazza.
Vidic again clears with a backward flick header thing. Fouled on the play, too.
Another corner and they go short again to work it around the top of the box.
They go short and comes to nothing.
Right from the get...Mascherano breaks down the field and forces a corner.
...and here we go. 45 minutes to decide the Champions.
The teams are back on the field and Barcelona are set to kick off...
No stoppage time at the end of the first half as the referee blows the whistle. Great first half by both teams!
Best chance of the second half that wasn't a goal. Messi breaks...slides to Villa on the right who slides it right back to Messi who can't get a toe on it and it keeps rolling out for a goal kick.
Barca win a free kick in a dangerous area about 35-yards out to the left of goal.
United sitting back hoping to keep the game as it is going into the break.
Iniesta wins the ball in the middle of the field and has a go from about 25-yards out...straight at the Dutch keeper though.
Vidic breaks up another Barca attack as he was up against Villa in the box and managed to knock it away.
Barcelona right back at it with Messi charging through the middle. Valencia forces him off the ball, but as he does, Messi draws the foul.
Great time for United to score, before the break. No one really expected that one, especially Sir Alex, who looked pretty surprised on the sidelines. Questions of offsides against Giggs.
Goal Wayne Rooney
Assist Ryan Giggs
Look at that! Rooney makes something out of nothing. A quick throw from Barca is turned over. Rooney cuts in, passes to Giggs, gets it right back and blasts home to make it 1-1. What a goal!
Possession stats show Barca has 65% of the ball, while United only at 35%.
United win a deep free kick that Rooney plays into the box and sees it pumped back out immediately.
Now it's time for Sir Alex's team to chase the match, something that suits Barcelona just fine. Lots of football left to be played.
Soft goal for United to give away. Should have been tighter as it had the advantage in numbers.
We have a goal! Out of seemingly nothing, Xavi slips it to Pedro on the right, who has somehow found himself in space. He then sends Van der Sar the wrong way and it's 1-0 Barca!!!
The last few minutes have been better for Manchester as it has seen a great deal of the ball. As I type that though, the ball goes to Barca.
Giggs tries a flighted ball into Hernandez but Pique is there to head it away.
Messi goes one-on-one with Ferdinand after a United turnover and the Englishman wins it. Scary moment.
Things are really starting to pick up now. Every time the Catalans are near the United end they look dangerous. Could be a long night for the English side.
Messi breaks into the box and would have scored if it weren't for a WORLD CLASS tackle by Vidic. That's why he was the EPL player of the year.
Villa gets the ball at the corner of the box and fires through Evra. Forces a good save out of VDS.
Eager beaver Hernandez offsides on the break...but he's working hard to get in those spots. Could be dangerous once he gets his timing right.
David Villa gets some space about 20 yards out and fires just wide of Van der Sar's net. The pressure rises...
Messi starts his dance routine and forces a good play from Vidic.
United haven't had the ball in about three-four minutes. Dominance.
The first real chance goes to Barca as Xavi chips one in from the far side that dips right to Pedro who toe-pokes it wide. Great chance as Van der Sar was planted to his spot.
The possession is definitely in Barca's favor now as it is finding its groove in the middle of the park.
Another offsides call against Chicharito. I'm going to set the over/under at 10 for him today.
The Spanish side appear to be settling in a bit now as the pressure from United has eased slightly.
They go short and is played away by United.
Barcelona win the first corner of the match thanks to a Villa shot that deflected off of Rio Ferdinand.
10 minutes in, David Villa gets what I believe is his first touch.
Big muck-up by Pique and Valdes as Pique nearly passes it back into his own net as the keeper charged the top of his box.
About 10 minutes in, you can tell how frustrated Barcelona are. Good start for United.
Correction: Valdes with the fist bump away. Just at the edge of his box.
Long ball from Van der Sar bounces to Rooney at the edge of the Barca area. Valdes heads it away calmly.
Hernandez already offsides twice. At least he's eager...
Again the La Liga champs are uncharacteristically losing the ball as the United pressure at every turn keeps them on their toes.
No Barca players allowed time on the ball and the early turnovers hare proof of this.
Ji-Sung Park doing his best Chicharito impression chasing down every single ball while frustrating Barca.
Mascherano now on the ball playing from the center of defense for Barcelona today.
Hernandez already causing troubles for Barca scampering back and winning the ball from the Spanish.
In the first few minutes, United not allowing Barcelona to settle on the ball and are taking it to them early.
The crowd, as you would expect is really into it to start the match with singing from both sides.
Barcelona with the early possession but then United win it back and start kicking it around in the final third.
Tap tap taparooooooo! The game is underwayyyy!
The players are set up on the field and the kick off is coming. Woooooooo!
Now the handshakes...as is the tradition.
...and here they come! Onto the field passed the trophy. The capacity stadium is on its feet.
There's the trophy. Beautiful beautiful beautiful.
Ohhhhh boy. Players are in the tunnel now. Manchester United in its change 'training' tops, while Barcelona, captained by Xavi, are in its traditional stripey jerseys.
I can barely contain my excitement, people. THE FINAL IS HERE!!!
Fox commentators predictions: Brad Friedel says United win; Eric Wynalda says a Barcelona win. We shall see.
How do you all feel about the lineups for either team? Not too many surprises really. Berbatov being the main exclusion and probably won't ever wear a ManU shirt again.
Biggest news for Barca is that Carles Puyol is left on the bench while Javier Mascherano will take his place in the middle of the defense. Eric Abidal is fit enough to play left back.
Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Abidal; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Villa. Subs: Oier, Puyol, Keita, Adriano, Thiago, Afellay, Bojan.
Now on to the Spanish champions...
Major points there: No Berbatov...not even on the bench as Owen is favored. Fabio gets the nod over his brother Rafael. Darren Fletcher will likely come off the bench as he isn't fit enough to start.
Man Utd: Van der Sar; Fabio, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park; Rooney; Chicharito. Subs: Kuszczak, Smalling, Fletcher, Scholes, Nani, Anderson, Owen.
Here come your staring lineups...
Hello everyone, Goal.com's Shane Evans with you for today's game of games: the UEFA Champions League Final between the immovable object that is Manchester United and the irresistible force known as Barcelona!
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