Champions of Europe

The Game was touted as the Clash of 2 best teams in the world, but in the end Football world realized that, in the field there was only one team,which displayed the Best Footballing spectacle. Sir Ferguson described the match as the Finals of the Decade but it could well be just one of the many more finals, which Barca are going to compete and come out on Top winning.

There was little surprise in the squads , barring the exclusion of Puyol from the starting line up of Barca. Umpteen stats were floating across the web trying to tell that Barca are destined for a defeat and one among them was that Barca lost all the matches,  this season, in which Puyol did not play. All Barca fans hoped that all the stats would go for a toss after today’s match. But as it turned out the stat, about puyol, still holds good since he was introduced in the final few minutes by Pep.

There was a sight to cherish even before the game kicked off, when a smiling Pep and an equally smiling Sir Alex wished each other followed by a warm embrace. It indicated that these 2 coaches have high regards for each other and no matter what the final outcome may be, these 2 would still remain two of the best coaches of the contemporary football.

Manchester United started very positively and in the first few minutes, Barca had very little feel of the spherical object on the field. There were some quick moves with Man U progressing well towards Barca’s Goal, but there was seldom any real threat for Valdes. Then arrived the usual sight during Barca’s matches, with Barca playing, what comes best to them, one touch football. Their game was not just about passes, but there was a clear intention to score an early goal.

Messi was making some wonderful runs but could not convert the runs into goals. He had a great chance to score in the first half, when he played a wonderful ball to villa, to the right, who in turn sent a perfect cross to the little argentine, who missed the ball by a fraction of a second. Pedro, too had a great chance to put Barca on front and Villa sent out a thunderous ball, only to miss the goal. One got the feel that Barca goal was not far away.

Barca indeed scored the first goal. It all started with Xavi and ended with Pedro finishing it to picture perfect. Van der Sar, who was playing his last professional game could do very little to stop that goal. One wondered whether this could turn out to be a repeat of Rome Final in 2009, but Man U responded within 8 minutes, when Wayne Rooney produced a stunner from long-range. The match was still on.  And the first half came to an end with no further excitements.

Man U were the first team to come out of the drinks break, which showed that Fergie’s man are ready for the kill. These are little signs, which could send out strong signals to their EPL opponents, but not to Barca. 2nd half started and this writer had a feel that, the team which scores first in this half would wrap the match up. And Barca were showing early signs of making that happen.

Messi, Xavi and Iniesta the trio played their usual style and pushed Man U, further deep,  to defend their goal. And then came the inevitable, with Messi sending a classy left footed ball to the Man U goal and ran almost like a wild beast to celebrate his first goal in English Soil. From then on it is always going to be catch up game for Man U, who had nothing to do, but to chase the shadows of Barca Players. Messi’s goal signaled the end of competition.

Barca, were not going to rest on the lead, so they kept pushing forward. By doing so, they got their third goal from the man, who had a lean patch in last couple of Months, David Villa. El Guaje’s goal not only sealed the championship for the Barca, but also ended the hopes of Ferguson to settle score with Pep Guardiola.

It was only matter of time before Barca lifted the most coveted trophy of Europe. Barca still kept pushing and in the process made sure that Valencia and Carrick were booked. Barca had their share of bookings as well, with Dani Alves getting booked for a tackle and Valdes for veiling away the time. Man u might feel touch unlucky with Villa’s hand ball going unnoticed in the 2nd half.

To be fair on Man U, they played Clean football, unlike Barca’s Semi Final opponents. The few cards toward the end of second half, should not take away the sheen from the manner, in  which the teams contested. The Game was played in true spirits for most part of the 90 minutes.  But this match, though, not lived up to the expectations with Man U playing well below their par.

In the End Barca were, deservedly, crowned the European champions for the 2nd time in 3 years. This team won the trophy in front of the legendary Johan Cruyff the man, who coached the Barcelona’s dream team to the club’s first ever European glory. Going by the records and form, Guardiola’s team could well replace Johan Cruyff’s team as the Dream Team. Congratulations Barcelona.!!

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