1 May 2002
REAL MADRID 1-1 BARCELONA
On the half hour mark the first real chance of the match. Raul broke from a Barca attack and dribbled downfield before laying a perfect pass in Guti who shot straight at Banana in the Barca goal. Rochemback tried his luck from distance, the ball deflected off Coco onto a post, bounced off Cesar and Kluivert was slow to react, he missed the ball and kicked Cesar in the face. An awful first touch by Xavi was pounced on by Raul, he played a one-two with Zidane before unleashing a left foot shot high into the net.
Guti, who is the joint worst finisher in the World alongside Claudio Lopez, blew a one on one with Banana just before Barca's equaliser. Helguera turned Coco's deflected cross past his own 'keeper. Raul forced Banana into a save on the attack. Luis Enrique wasted a great chance created by Kluivert's clever back heel. Kluivert brilliantly pulled down a Xavi pass, made a yard for himself but shot horribly high. The absolutely terrible Overmars finally managed to get a pass right, sending the ball across the face of goal after a nice move down the left, three Real players or to be more precise didn't bother to defend, Geovanni ran onto the ball and hit a conversion over the bar. Unfortunately this isn't Rugby.
Real's defending was as bad as Barca's finishing. If Real defend like this in the final they'll loose provided of course that Leverkusen don't choke. Neither is likely. Kluivert is a big shithouse. He was great in the first phase but once when it really mattered he went AWOL. Barca need a World Class target man.
Assist : Zidane
30 APRIL 2002
LEVERKUSEN 1-1 MAN UNITED
Leverkusen were awarded a free kick 30yds from goal for a foul on Ze Roberto. They stroked the ball around casually then Placente passed to Schneider, he took one touch to control the ball, turned and curled a low shot against the outside of a post. Minutes later Ze Roberto made a spectacular goal-line clearance from a Johnsen header. Mr Hospital Pass Scholes hit a square ball across his box but fortunately Schneider rushed his shot. An untimely slip by Zivkovic let in Keane, he rounded Butt and shot past a despairing Sebescen. Leverkusen equalised in first half injury time. Lucio injured himself after intercepting a Barthez goal-kick. He managed to lay the ball off to Sebescen and Leverkusen went forward. Basturk traded passes with Schneider and Ze Roberto then rolled the ball forward to Neuville, he turned instantly and fired a looping shot over Barthez. Excellent goal.
The second half came to life in the final 20 minutes. Scholes blew a glorious chance, blasting the ball high over the bar from the edge of the box after Giggs pulled back from the by-line. Butt made an excellent one handed save from Keane's drive, his only save of the match. Butt made a mess of a Scholes cross into the box, the ball landed at Forlan's feet, he lobbed the ball goal-wards but was denied by another spectacular goal-line clearance by Placente. The ball ran to Giggs and he whipped it back into the box, Solskjaer pulled it down brilliantly but volleyed over. Silvestre under-hit a pass to Veron, Berbatov intercepted and as he ran into the box Silvestre chopped him down. No penalty. Leverkusen rode out the four minutes on injury time to book their place in their first ever European Cup final. Over the course of the two legs they deserved it.
Aggregate : 3-3. Leverkusen win on away goals
Assist : Van Nistelrooy
24 APRIL 2002
MAN UNITED 2-2 LEVERKUSEN
An open game from the outset, surprising then that we had to wait half an hour for a goal. Scholes found Van Nistelrooy, who could have scored twice by this point, with an excellent long pass. Van Nistelrooy whipped the ball into the box, Solskjaer shot first time and the ball cannoned off Zivkovic's chest past a helpless Butt. Berbatov should have equalised four minutes later but headed wide and Silvestre selfishly fired across goal with Van Nistelrooy unmarked in the box.
Man United finally cracked just past the hour mark. Ballack over hit a left wing cross and the ball fell to Schneider, he knocked the ball back across goal and Ballack, who started the move, volleyed into the ground and the ball bounced over Barthez. Less than five minutes later Ze Roberto brought down Van Nistelrooy in the box, penalty. Ruud smashed the ball low into the corner. A superb move between Solskjaer, Van Nistelrooy and Giggs ended with Veron hitting a fierce first time shot from Giggs back heel straight at Butt. Lucio tidied up and began an attack down the left. The ball was eventually played to Basturk. He jinked his way into the box then cut the ball back to Ballack, his shot hit Blanc who made a half arsed attempt to clear, Basturk followed up, this time Nicky Butt blocked but Neuville fired into the corner. Keane made a quicker than expected return from injury but understandably failed to have much impact.
Ballack is the best attacking midfielder in the World. As good as this match was I expect the second leg to be even better.
Assists : Schneider, Van Nistelrooy (Pen)
23 APRIL 2002 BARCELONA 0-2 REAL MADRID
Casual defending and a lucky ricochet gave Kluivert a glorious chance in the opening minutes. He latched onto Rochemback's deflected shot and side-stepped Helguera but shot straight at Cesar. 5 minutes later Luis Enrique headed Rochemback's corner against the crossbar. Raul failed to Bonano who took up a poor position when attempting to cut out a through pass.
Real controlled the rest of the match and scored on counter attack. Makelele easily cut out a trademark crap Overmars cross then passed to Solari who hit the ball into Raul, Raul turned away from Abelardo and dropped the ball perfectly at Zidane's feet with a superb 30yd cross field pass. Zidane ran towards goal unchallenged with the Barca defence stood on the 60yd line, presumably playing offside, he went for a curler into the top corner but didn't seem to get enough height however Bonano only succeeded in palming the ball into his own net. Not really an own goal though but shocking goalkeeping nonetheless. Overmars finally managed to get a decent cross into the box but Luis Enrique wide. Guti wasted two glorious chances to increase Real's lead and was duly substituted for McManaman. Overmars was lucky to stay on the pitch after bringing down Macca when clean through on goal although there didn't appear to be much contact on the replay. Substitute Geovanni volleyed against the crossbar. Raul pressed Gabbri into loosing the ball deep in his own half and was fouled as he tried to run at goal, the ref played the advantage, Flavio passed to fellow substitute Steve 'Macca' McManaman and he calmly lifted the ball over the advancing Bonano, superb finish.
Barca wasted two glorious chances in the opening 15 minutes and never recovered. Real should have scored 4. They were so much in control you could be forgiven for thinking this was a training match. Real's first victory in the Nou Camp in almost 20 years. Zidane and Cesar picked up bookings which could prove costly depending on if Barca take a cynical approach in the second leg.
Assists : Raul, Flavio Conceicao