28 May 2010

BARCELONA 3 (Pedro 27, Messi 54, Villa 69)

It took Barcelona 15 minutes to get their magic carousel style passing game going. After lots of square passing Iniesta sprayed a crossfield pass out wide to Alves, he flicked it over Park, who was a major nuisance to Barca in the preceding 14 minutes, drifted past Giggs and gave the ball to Messi, Messi ran into the box and passed to Villa, Park cut out Villa's centre but the ball came back to the former Valencia striker, he passed to Xavi who chipped the ball low to the centre circle and an off balance Pedro flashed wide of the right post. Park never recovered. Xavi, who was orchestrating play surprisingly deep into United territory, laid a Messi pass square to Villa and after cutting inside Vidic he curled a shot a yard wide of the right post. It proved to be a sighter. Pique headed a longball to Xavi and Iniesta exchanged short passes with Biscuits before releasing Xavi, given far too much room by the mediocre Carrick, Xavi slowed down as he approached the box, waiting and waiting before toe poking a ball between four United players to Pedro, his first touch was excellent and his second was a goal. United equalised from a Barcelona throw-in after the two adulterers combined. Villa lost possession, Carrick turned Fabio's pass onto Rooney and he ran at the Barca defence before chipping a ball upto Giggs, Abidal lazily appealed for offside instead of doing his job and defending, Giggs centred and Rooney swept first time into the left corner. Great finish.

Xavi dispossessed Rooney as he tried to ran from midfield, seven passes later he was 30 yards from goal, he passed to Iniesta who rolled the ball to Messi and with only one United player near him, Park, he turned and ran towards the penalty area, stepped wide of Evra and fired wide of VDS, who possibly showed his years by being unable to stop it. Messi had two chances within as many minutes, the first following a Ferdinand mistake and the second an outrageous back heal from an Alves centre which Fabio hacked clear and injured himself in doing so. Fabio was still off the pitch, resting on the right post as VDS flew across to save a Xavi effort. By now Man United were chasing shadows. Nani replaced Fabio and within seconds Villa scored the third. Messi teased Nani before dropping a shoulder to go past as he ran in from the right, he slalomed his way around Evra and tried to touch the ball back but was intercepted by Carrick, Nani couldn't control his pass and Biscuits teed-up Villa who took one touch before whipping the ball inside the right post. Fantastic goal. That was it as far as the goalmouth action was concerned. There were a rash of substitutions, Scholes given possibly his final run out in Europe. Keita came on for Villa and Bam Bam Puyol replaced Alves two minutes from time, presumably to lift the cup only that honour fell to Abidal.

United made their way to the final beating a host of mediocre teams and Barca thanks again to some dubious refereeing. They didn't need any of that in the final, the most one side since Porto beat Monaco. The gulf in class between the two sides was epic.

The idiots, lead by Graham Hunter, Sid Lowe and that snake Guillem Balague (once he's got his tongue out of Rafa Benitez's rectum) will of course once again claim this Barcelona side are the greatest side of all time. Obviously they're not, they're merely the best team of the last 5 years.

Lovely commentary by ORF. I rarely understood a word but anything's preferable to ITV or Sky.

Oh yes and Mascherano, one of my least favourite players of all time, was off the charts.

Attendance : 87,695
Assists : Xavi, Giggs, Iniesta, Busquets