Posts Tagged ‘Ajax’

Once again, Barcelona outclassed Manchester United in the finals of UEFA Champions League on Saturday with a 3-1 victory! F.C.Barcelona join Ajax with four Champions League trophies to their name. The match was held at Wembley with an attendance of around 87000 fans.

Sir Alex Ferguson started with the same line-up as in the semifinals second leg against Shalke 04. Van der sar as goal keeper, Patrice Evra as left back, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand as central defense, Fabio da silva as right back, Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick as central midfielders, Valencia and Park-Ji-Sung as wingers, Wayne Rooney as attacking midfielder, and Javier Hernandez as center forward played a 4-4-1-1 formation. Pep Guardiola came up with one change in the line-up in the semifinals second leg against Real Madrid. As he is not 100% fit, Carlos Puyol was replaced by Eric Abidal. Victor Valdes as goal keeper, Eric Abidal as left back, Javier Mascherano and Gerrard Pique as central defense, Dani Alves as right back, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, and Xavi Hernandez as midfielders, and David Villa, Lionel Messi and Pedro as forward played a 4-3-3 formation.

Manchester United dominated the first ten minutes of the match. Valdes came front couple of times clearing the ball himself thwarting United’s efforts. For the next twenty minutes, it was a magnificent possession from the Barca players. Hardly did they give the ball to the United players. At the 27th minute, Xavi was in a position to supply all the three of his strikers, and he passed to Pedro, the toughest call among the three. The pass was very perfect that it released Pedro to face Van der sar alone. Pedro finished it with a clinical strike to put the Catalans on lead. United were aroused and the next five minutes, they were desperately trying to get back into the game. Hernandez was caught offside so frequently falling into the offside trap set by the Barca defense. At the 34th minute, Rooney did a one-two with Giggs and scored a stunning goal to put the Red Devils back into competition. In the remaining 10 minutes, it was again the domination of the catalans, but they were unable to put their team into lead again. Barcelona enjoyed 2/3rd of the possession in the first half of the game.

In the first ten minutes of the second half, the central defense of Barcelona made their way front to try changing the play. Their efforts were successfully thwarted by Edwin Vandersar, who ultimately succumbed to Messi at 54th minute. Lionel Messi took a short pass from Iniesta and took a shot, 2o yards away from the goal, which went past the outstretched Vandersar. That was a magnificent strike and an unstoppable one and an unexpected one too. Barcelona usually don’t score long range goals. Then the play goes bad with some tense moments in the midfield which ended with both Alves and Carrick picking up yellow cards. Again there was domination from Barcelona. Vandersar did all he can to prevent Barcelona finishing the game till Villa scored a screamer in the 70th minute to seal the victory. Messi dribbled four United players, leaving the ball to Busquets. Busquets short-passed to Villa, who slotted in the ball perfectly. The United backline wasn’t as effective as they were thought. The rest of the match didn’t have any impact on the match.

The result was not a surprise to many. But United could’ve done better to stop Barcelona from winning easily. Chicharito was seen nowhere in the majority of the game. In the first half, the Catalan’s offside trap worked well with him. Giggs and Carrick couldn’t stop Xavi and Iniesta from supplying the strikers with a lot of chances. The deadly midfield combo outpaced the United’s midfield. This is where it mattered the most. Unless you play well in the midfield against Barcelona, you can’t win. And to the dismay of the midfielders, the defense line of United was still worse. Vidic made a couple of good saves, but he wasn’t able to take control of the back line. Neither did Ferdinand. Van der sar and Rooney were the best players for United in this match. Van der sar decreased the Catalan goal count and Rooney increased the United goal count. If not for these players, the score line would’ve gone to 5-0 like Barcelona-Real Madrid match this year.

For Barcelona, the match was won on the midfield with a rigid support from the defense by Mascherano and Pique and a sharp attack line. Alves threatened the United defense then and there. Valdes supported the offside trap by Barca defense well with a couple of saves out of the penalty box. All the three attackers scored one goals each and sealed the game. Overall it was a wonderful finals.

This loss meant more to the United manager. He was made to admit that his team is not the best team. And its true! Just because all the premier league clubs are not on top form, United were seen as a great team. Now, with Van der sar leaving the club, Fergie should set things back right. Before other Premier League clubs wake up! And before he puts an end to his career!

The strategy of Barca to shoot from long range worked well. And the man behind this strategy, Pep Guariola won the second Champions League as a manager in his third season as a coach. No one would ask for anything better. He has done almost all that could be done to Barca, and it would be great if he moves on to a different country’s league for a new challenge.


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