Barca 3-1 United: Report, Stats, Video Goals & Player Ratings
In one of the most highly-anticipated European finals in years, Manchester United suffered a 3-1 defeat to Barcelona, who claimed the 2011 UEFA Champions League trophy, at Wembley Stadium.
Pedro Rodriguez put Barcelona the lead on 27 minutes into the match, but Wayne Rooney drew United level just seven minutes after, however, two second half goals from Lionel Messi and David Villa gave the Spaniards the fully deserved victory.
The dismal result is the second time in three years that the Reds have lost to Barcelona in the European final, which will not sit well with anyone involved with the club. As most people anticipated, Sir Alex Ferguson kept his favored 4-4-2 formation with the same starting XI that has secured United not only the Barclays Premier League, but has gotten his team to the European final again this season.
Edwin van der Sar, who was making his final appearance for the club, got the start in goal for United with Fabio, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra in front of him. The Gaffer also opted for very a formidable, quite interchangeable midfield to play ahead of Michael Carrick – with Ryan Giggs, Ji-Sung Park and Antonio Valencia all getting the nod. Without any real surprise, Rooney and Javier Hernandez were selected up front, but, amazingly, Dimitar Berbatov, who just laid claim the 2010/11 Barclays Premier League’s Golden Boot Award, was left completely out of the squad.
Like what happened at the Stadio Olimpico, the first 10 minutes of the match saw United dominating the possession of the ball, but, after that, Barcelona started to get their feet underneath them and started pushing forward and they were the ones who created the first couple of chances to open the scoring.
Xavi sprayed out wide to Dani Alves on their right-hand side and he cut inside of Park and a couple of passes later it saw the originator of the attack send in a cross from that very side and Sergio Busquets missed hitting the target from seven yards out. Then, in a two minute span, David Villa, who attracted interest of Sir Alex before he signed with the Spanish champions, had two attempts to score. Fortunately, he failed to hit the target on the first and van der Sar saved his second, which was heading for the bottom corner.
27 minutes into the match, United conceded the opening goal after they were carved apart by a very precise Barcelona passing movement. With Giggs dropping way too far off of him, Xavi was given loads of time to pick his pass and he expertly found an unmarked Pedro, who quickly left van der Sar for dead with his cool, side-foot finish to the near post.
However, their lead lasted just a mere seven minutes as United were able to peg Barcelona back. Needing to get a goal back quickly, Rooney collected a pass from Fabio and drove straight at the Barca back-four, and, then, after playing a neat one-two-one with Giggs, the on-form forward perfectly placed his shot into the top corner of the net.
The first half ended all square, but Barcelona came out after halftime and picked up right where they left off – with loads of possession in the United defensive-third. Seven minutes in, Alves made a dashing run in-behind the United defense, but his shock was blocked well by van der Sar, but it went straight to Lionel Messi, whose chipped-shot was defended well by Evra.
Then out of completely nothing, that same pesky little attack-minded magician changed the tone of the game again. Messi collected the ball, and with Evra and Vidic not charging out to close him down, he unleashed a powerful shot, which van der Sar must not have seen until it was too late to restore the Spaniards’ lead.
After the goal, the game started to get a little chippy with both Dani Alves and Carrick picking up yellow cards from the referee, Viktor Kassai, but that soon settled down and Barcelona began to press forward again and again.
Moments after Nani came on for Fabio, Barcelona put real distance between themselves and 19-time English champions. Sergio Busquets laid the ball on for Villa at the edge of the area and the Barca No. 7 bent the ball brilliantly around Vidic into the top corner of the United net.
The game certainly did not sizzle out, but, with the result all but confirmed, the Catalans controlled the pace of the possession with the Reds squeaking a half chance here and there.
The referee’s final whistle eventually came to put Manchester United out their misery as Barcelona deservedly captured the 2011 UEFA Champions League title.
Wayne Rooney scored a great goal, but he showed a never-say-die attitude, which, disappointingly, some of teammates lacked.
E. van der Sar – 6; Fabio – 4 (Nani – 5), R. Ferdinand – 6, N. Vidic – 5, P. Evra – 5; A. Valencia – 5, M. Carrick – 5 (P. Scholes – 6), R. Giggs – 5, J. S. Park – 5; W. Rooney – 7, J. Hernandez – 4
W. Rooney (34′)
Video Goals – click here
Shots (On Target): 4 (1)
Fouls Conceded (Suffered): 16 (5)
Discipline: M. Carrick, A. Valencia
Submitted by The United Religion
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