The spirit-filled final match of UEFA Champions League was over with Barcelona taking the trophy home and Manchester United was not able to revenge their defeat from two years ago , when they also lost by two points against Barcelona in the 2009’s Champion’s League final.
Barcelona has proven yet again why they are considered one of the finest teams in the history by shutting down the English champion Manchester United 3-1, and Lionel Messi, scoring his 12th game of the tournament and first goal on the England ground, may now be the best soccer player with little doubt.
The game was held in Wembley Stadium in London, England on May 28, 2011.
There were few small surprises in the starting lineup. Valencia, now fully recovered from injury, got to start instead of Nani for Manchester, and Puyol did not get to start for Barcelona. Berbatov, who scored the most goals in the English Primier League this season, did not even get to put his name on the sub list.
Surprise to everyone, Manchester United started off offensively, executing several dangerous moments by Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernández. Barcelona had a shaky start, Messi-Iniesta-Xavi line blocked effectively by United.
However, United could not keep up the dominance for more than 10 minutes and Barcelona started to play their short-pass games.
The first goal of the final match came in the 27th minute when Pedro scored a goal in the penalty box, assisted by Xavi. United defense failed to follow Pedro and the goalkeeper Edwin van der Saar could not respond.
However, United did not give up easily. Wayne Rooney, 7 minutes after conceiving the first goal, saved United by scoring a goal, assisted by Ryan Giggs.
There were no more goals in the rest of the first half.
Second half started with no changes in the lineup, and the situation started to favor Barcelona.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, the awaited goal from Lionel Messi came, giving Barcelona a 1-point lead again. Messi, now scoring his 12th goal of the tournament, tied for the most goals scored in a single year’s tournament of the UFEA Champions League’s history since 1992 when the tournament took current format. The goal was also Messi’s first goal on the England ground.
Messi, just outside of the penalty box, shot the ball into the goal. The ball that left Messi’s foot curved and was out of reach when Manchester United’s goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar dived for it.
The game got fiercer in the latter part of the second half. First yellow card came at the 60th minute when Barcelona’s Daniel Alves dangerously tackled Evra. Only after a minute, Michael Carrick received another yellow card.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, made his first switch of his players in the 68th minute, puttingin Nani in the field instead of Fabio.
But within a moment after the switch was made, David Villa scored the third goal for Barcelona, who brilliantly nailed the ball at the top right corner of the goal.
Manchester United used their second switch in the 76th minute, Michael Carrick coming out and switching with Paul Scholes.
Barcelona made their switches toward the end of the game. With less than 5 minutes left in the game, David Villa came out and Keita entered into the field. Soon after, Puyol came in instead of Daniel Alves. Pedro came out during the extra time for Afellay.
There were no more miracles for Manchester United despite their efforts, and the game ended with Barcelona’s victory.