UEFA Champions League

April 29, 2008


Manchester United

1 - 0


UEFA Champions League

18:45 +00:00, April 29, 2008

Old Trafford, England

Referee: Herbert Fandel

2nd Leg: 1 - 0 (Agg)

  • 98'

    Well that was more like it! A pulsating game. Not choc full of chances but heaving with drama, intriuge and some sumptuous football. Barca had oodles of possession but United got the only statistic that matters - a goal. And what a goal it was! The Ginger Ninja previals! See you tomorrow for the Battle of Britain from Stamford Bridge. Ta ra...

  • 97'

    And of course, its an all-English final!!

  • 97'

    Old Trafford has gone nuts!

  • 97'

    That's it! United are through!

  • 97'

    Ronaldo fouls Bojan, Barca free kick. Valdes is up!

  • 96'

    Carrick tackles Henry. Barca still come with Bojan.

  • 96'

    Abidal pumps one last long ball up top. Brown heads away.

  • 95'

    Ferdinand just boots the free kick out for a Barca goal kick. Not sure why!

  • 95'

    Ryan Giggs gets to a loose ball in front of Abidal and wins a free kick. Never has a free kick been cheered so loudly at OT!

  • 94'

    Gudjohnsen receives Messi's pass and works a chink of space before Brown blocks his attempted shot. Crikey, this is dramatic!

  • 93'

    A standing ovation for the departing Evra, and the oncoming Silvestre.

  • 92'

    This Evra injury will surely add another few minutes to the game. Silvestre is going to come on for the left back, who is about to leave on a stretcher.

  • 91'

    Puyol is up front now and he puts in a dangerous cross that Brown deals with very well. Then as Puyol lumped it back in, Ronaldo climbs high to head away from danger. Evra is down after Ronaldo clattered into him.

  • 90'

    Hargreaves wins a header. Every United touch being cheered now!

  • 90'

    There will be three added minutes....

  • 89'

    Xavi's ball to Bojan is exquisite but the teenager's touch means he can't get a shot off. Brown does well. This is VERY TENSE now!!

  • 89'

    Barca change, Gudjohnsen is on for Yaya Toure.

  • 88'

    Old Trafford is a sea of colour and noise now as they belt out their beloved Ronaldo song. The team are just trying to keep the ball and exploit how stretched Barcelona are now.

  • 87'

    Great turn from Fletcher, then an awful ball from Giggs looking for Tevez. He's massively overhit that.

  • 86'

    Ronaldo buys some time after Zambrotta slides in to concede a corner deep in Barca's half.

  • 85'

    Its last-ditch-tastic for United now, and they are sitting very, very deep. The Champions League final is within touching distance now.

  • 84'

    Its all or nothing for Barca now and they pour forward. Bojan works a crossing chance but VDs claims easily.

  • 83'

    Ronaldo goes down after toe-poking the ball past Puyol. He should have had a free kick but the ref waves play on. Then Tevez puts himself about, winning two tackles to a huge roar from the crowd.

  • 82'

    Henry tries a curler a la Celtic, but Van der Sar is on his toes and gets across to gather.

  • 82'

    Then a rare Ronaldo break. He cits in from the right and plants a left foot shot just wide.

  • 81'

    Great close control from Xavi. He releases Henry on the left but he lacks the threat of old and almost wastes possession before Hargreaves slides in to win the ball back.

  • 80'

    Good tracking back from Ronaldo; he follows Zambrotta back into his own area as Toure floated one over Evra.

  • 79'

    Barca win a corner and Henry meets Xavi's cross but his header from eight yards out is straight at VDS. Chance.

  • 78'

    Ladies and gents, we are officially entering what those in the trade like to call squeaky bum time. Just over ten minutes left.

  • 77'

    Double change for United; Nani and Scholes off, Giggs and Fletcher on.

  • 76'

    Heart-in-mouth time for Brown as he tangles with Messi; first it could have been a foul, then a handball as Brown went to ground and finally Nani gets the ball away.

  • 75'

    More wizadry from Messi who creates a few yards of space before driling a slide rule pass in the direction of Xavi who only just fails to collect near the penalty area.

  • 74'

    Nani does well to close Messi down after Ronaldo lost the ball, then stamped his feet on the ground in frustration rather than try and win it back.

  • 73'

    Another Barca change, Eto'o off, Bojan on.

  • 72'

    A funny exchange ensues as Park robs Hnery of the ball before the Frenchman storms back to win it. Henry then undoes all his good work with a horrible back pass to Valdes and United have a corner.

  • 71'

    Yaya Toure is the latest to be booked after a lunge on Park. He'll miss the final if Barca get there. No 'Gazza style' tears from the big midfielder though.

  • 70'

    Barca's Plan A, B and C has been finalised. Give it to Messi as soon as possible and hope he betas seven men to score. I wouldn't put it past him mind, the lad's a genius.

  • 69'

    Its just not quite happening for Barca. Messi again weaves his way past two before Eto'o fails to gather the ball with his back to goal.

  • 68'

    Ronaldo has been carded, and despite it being a very trivial booking, I reckon he deserves it for constantly moaning, just cos he's not playing very well.

  • 67'

    Toure attempts a wildly ambitious drive from 35 yards. It dribbles ten yards wide. Not a good idea that.

  • 66'

    ROnaldo is moaning that Zambrotta went down too easily after they contested a ball in the air. Not a leg to stand on Ronny.

  • 65'

    Henry has gone out to the left for Barca but he can only watch as Ronaldo tries to make the most of a ricochet. Park then picks up the ball to the left of the penalty area. He crosses but Milito is there to hack away.

  • 64'

    Deco's free kick takes a deflection and lands just wide of the post with Van der Sar scuttling across desperately. The resulting corner is met by Rio's big meaty forehead.

  • 63'

    Carrick gets a card for hauling down Messi, who was in full flow. Free kick, 40 yards out, dead centre.

  • 62'

    Another good forray from Evara. He's very lively tonight. His cross hits Toure and though the crowd shout handball, it really wasn't. At all.

  • 61'

    Barca change. Guess who? Thierry Henry, that's who. Iniesta makes way.

  • 60'

    What a superb run from Nani, he breaks from inside his own half before beating Abidal all ends up and shooting well over the bar.

  • 59'

    Barca hit back and Iniesta bursts into the area before winning a corner off Brown.

  • 58'

    Maybe Tevez would have been better off squaring for Park but with such a clear sight of goal you can't blame him for having a pop.

  • 57'

    Great chance for Tevez! He plays a lovely one-two with Ronaldo before firing one at Valdes who does well to parry the venomous shot into the air, then claim at the second attempt.

  • 56'

    Messi races at United centre pairing and makes it to the edge of the area, before slicing a shot well wide, much to the delight of 95% of Old Trafford.

  • 56'

    Superb footwork from Ronaldo who does Puyol with a few step-overs before lofting in a left-footed ball which Toure does well to meet. If he hadn't, Tevez had a free header six yards out.

  • 55'

    The ref has just legged it over to Deco and booked him. I have no idea what for.

  • 54'

    Ferdinand wins the header, Ronaldo fizzes in a low cross and Nani's touch just rolls wide with the help of a partial Milito block.

  • 53'

    Zambrotta's misery continues; he slides in late on Evra and collects the game's first booking for his trouble. Free kick on the left, about 50 yards out.

  • 52'

    From the corner just gone Milito cleaned Ronaldo up good and proper and if the ref had spotted it, we'd have had another spot kick on our hands.

  • 51'

    Evra wins a corner for United which has bounced all the way through to Ferdinand. His cross bounces all the way through to Nani before Xavi nicks it off him.

  • 50'

    Carrick's ball was a little strong for Nani who had made a clever run inside Abidal.

  • 49'

    Messi looks for Eto'o again and Ferdinand shanks his clearance out for a corner ... which comes to nowt.

  • 48'

    Messi lofts in a ball and as Eto'o lines himself up for an overhead kick Ferdinand gets his head to the cross and clears the danger.

  • 47'

    Ronaldo can't make the most of a Nani pass - he really hasn't come to life at all so far.

  • 47'

    Ji-Sung Park does well to close down Eto'o as he gets the first whiff of a break.

  • 46'

    Forty-five minutes for one of these sides to fulfill their Champions League destiny. Expect more goals ... Fergie himself has just said, "We need a second goal."

  • 45'

    More neat interplay from Barca; Eto'o finds Xavi, to Abidal but his shot can't find a way past Hargreaves, and that is half time. A superb 45 minutes of football. See you in 15...

  • 45'

    One minute of time added..

  • 45'

    More pressure on the United back line as Xavi finds Iniesta. He shoots but Hargreaves stands firm to block.

  • 44'

    Xavi's ball in was superb and Milito was ahead of Ferdinand but fluffed his header. He should have done much better.

  • 43'

    Free kick for Barca, about 35 yards out to the right.

  • 42'

    Its no messing at the back from United as Barca look for the flick or trick that will unlock the United rearguard. Ferdinand boots clear there as Deco looped a ball inside the area for Messi.

  • 41'

    What a good ball in that was from Park. Nani did well to climb above two Barca defenders to win it but he needed to get a tad more meat on it.

  • 40'

    Ooh, it was nearly two! A cracking ball in from Park is met by Nani's glancing header but it creeps JUST wide.

  • 39'

    United need to get a grip again here. They are surrendering too much space and too much time. They need far more pressure on the ball because the Spaniards will kill you if they can knock it around at will.

  • 38'

    I've done two people a dis-service there. It was a Messi cross, then an Evra block. When you're thrashing your head back and forth between the tele and the computer screen as fast as this the occasional mistake is unavoidable I'm afraid. How very honest of me eh? You'd never have known unless I'd confessed.

  • 37'

    Then an Iniesta cross is spilled by Van der Sar, who was at full stretch, and Wes Brown needed to be sharp there to get to the loose ball before Eto'o. The tides have turned again, and this is developing into a belter of a game.

  • 36'

    As I write that a nice move involving Iniesta and Eto'o ends with Deco evading Hargreaves and firing a shot narrowly wide. Better from the visitors.

  • 35'

    The early goal certainly isn't a disaster for Barca. Should they equalise they'll be in the box seat and firing on all cylinders or not, there's always a goal in them.

  • 34'

    A chorus of boos and jeers greet a spell of Barca possession. Abidal wastes a chance to cross by passing straight to Nani.

  • 33'

    First credible effort from Barca. Hargreaves and Nani left Iniesta to each other and he moved into the area before squaring to Eto'o who touched off for Deco to hit one just wide of the post.

  • 32'

    Despite looking fluid with the ball at his feet, Messi clearly isn't fit. He could have turned Deco's aimless volley into a decent ball if he'd embarked on a lung-busting sprint. Err, but he didn't.

  • 31'

    Valdes punches clear then Toure robs Park. He releases Iniesta and if his ball was better Messi was through on goal, and onside. A chance wasted.

  • 30'

    Smart work from Tevez in limited space down the left. He wins a corner as Yaya Toure comes across.

  • 29'

    More flapping at the back from Barca. Park ghosts into the area but can't find Scholes, then as Tevez picks up the loose ball and crosses, Valdes flaps before Puyol and Milito clash heads as they rose simultaneously to head to safety.

  • 28'

    As I say that Iniesta finds a modicum of space but his cross is well intercepted by Ferdinand.

  • 27'

    There is nothing coming down Barca's right. Every move starts, and usually ends, with Messi cutting in from the right flank. Iniesta has hardly seen any of the ball.

  • 26'

    Now Deco fires a simple pass out of play and United have knocked the wind out of their oppenents completely here. Barca look thoroughly rattled - apart from Messi.

  • 25'

    A tidy move from Barca involves Messi and Deco before the latter tries to slip a ball inside Wes Brown. Van der Sar is out quickly to claim and gets a bump on his bonce for his trouble.

  • 24'

    United work the ball well after the corner is cleared and a beautiful cross from Carrick finds Brown on the penalty spot but he can't make full contact and the ball squirms behind for a goal kick.

  • 23'

    Ronaldo wins a corner off Zambrotta. Barca are all over the place now. Their confidence must be very brittle given their patchy league form.

  • 22'

    Now Puyol and Valdes get themselves into a mess before the referee awards a free kick as Tevez looked to capitalise inside the area.

  • 21'

    Then Carrick breaks down the left before squaring to the onrushing Park whose right foot shot rolls agonisingly wide with Valdes nowhere to be seen.

  • 20'

    Now Eto'o charges down a Van der Sar clearance but it was wide of the goal and doesn't trouble the keeper.

  • 19'

    United are on the ball far more now as Evra crosses. Puyol clears, then Messi has another dribble that ends in a curling shot which was dipping into the bottom corner before Van der Sar gets a strong palm to it.

  • 18'

    Nani's free kick flashes past Ferdinand and bounces right in front of Valdes but Puyol helps to scramble it away. Amazing what a goal can do innit?

  • 17'

    Now Carrick frees Ronaldo on the right and he buys a free kick off Milito. Clever play from Ronaldo, he suckered Milito into that.

  • 16'

    Now that should settle United down, and maybe Barca might feel the pressure now.

  • 15'

    Astonishing! United hardly had a kick for 14 minutes, then Scholes had a kick at goal and the ball has spiralled into the postage stamp. What a time for Scholes to end his scoring drought!

  • 14'

    An amazing half-volley into the top corner from distance in practically their first attack! what a goal!

  • 14'

    GOAL! Scholes!

  • 13'

    A stray Abidal ball hands United a throw-in but from it Scholes tries a far too ambitious ball looking for Nani inside the area and Barca bring the ball away.

  • 12'

    Ronaldo is penalised twice in a minute; firstly for offside, then for a foul on Milito.

  • 11'

    Despite the crowd's best efforts, United are looking a little lost so far. Van der Sar needs to back-peddle as a mis-hit Abidal cross loops onto the top of the net.

  • 10'

    A lovely Barcelona moves ends in a lofted Xavi ball towards Eto'o but his lay off is too far in front of Messi.

  • 9'

    United are a little TOO fired up for this. They could do with a spell of possession to calm their players down. Barca look eminently comfortable to date.

  • 8'

    Van der Sar makes a right hash of his first clearance, shanking the ball right to Eto'o who charged into the area before Ferdinand blocked. VDS needs to get a grip - his kicking was suspect in the Camp Nou too.

  • 7'

    Xavi brushes Ronaldo aside when he finally gets the ball.

  • 6'

    Six minutes in and Ronaldo hasn't had a kick yet. This time last week he'd already missed a penalty!

  • 5'

    A super passage of play as Tevez and Scholes combine before Barca break with Messi. He gets to the edge of the United area before Ferdinand intervenes and then a sliding Hargreaves challenge on Iniesta ramps up the noise level inside the stadium. A promising opening.

  • 4'

    United haven't got out of their half yet. Barca look settled already.

  • 3'

    Messi blasts his free kick into the wall, and Scholes was inches away from conceding an early penalty with that Messi tackle. Very Messi indeed.

  • 2'

    Barca are right at it straight away; Evra gives the ball away then Paul puts in a very Scholes-like challenge as Messi nips in. Free kick, right on the edge of the area out to the right.

  • 1'

    So ladies and gentlemen, strap yourselves in, because here we go....


    The Stretford End form themselves into a mass of red and white cards which spell the word 'Believe' and nigh on 80,000 fans ensure the teams enter the arena to a wall of sound. People harp on about the European atmosphere at Anfield, but there are nearly twice as many fans in Old Trafford so they should be able to knock out a rousing song or two eh?


    Ronaldo is bobbing around in the tunnel and appears to be trying to set a new record for the amount of 'product' in a grown man's heair. His slick do is positively shining like a beacon!


    Barcelona will line up in a very similar way to the first leg - it is a system which allows them to be as free flowing, or as solid, as they like. As for United, they MUST set up in a more positive, forward thinking vein. They must grab the initiative, and attack what has been a creaking Barca back line. But, will the real Man United stand up?


    I approach my pre-match tittle tattle with a certain amount of caution tonight, given the stupendous job I did hyping up last week's first leg. I said it would be wonderful; a footballing feast between two attacking, fluid and intrepid teams. As it turned out, after the first four minutes it was a pretty rubbish, cagey game. Undeterred by that though, I'm still predicting an on-pitch riot of epic proportions tonight.


    Just one change for Barca, Puyol is back as Marquez makes way: Valdes, Zambrotta, Puyol, Milito, Abidal, Toure Yaya, Messi, Xavi, Deco, Iniesta and Eto'o. Subs from: Pinto, Gudjohnsen, Henry, Edmilson, Sylvinho, Thuram and Bojan.


    Without further ado, this evening's teams, starting with Manchester United, who are Rooney-less and Vidic-less: Van der Sar, Hargreaves, Ferdinand, Brown, Evra, Park, Scholes, Carrick, Nani, Ronaldo and Tevez. Subs from: Kuszczak, Anderson, Giggs, O'Shea, Fletcher, Silvestre, Welbeck.


    Here we go dear footy fans! After the drab 0-0 encounter at the Nou Camp last week, we expect big things from Old Trafford tonight as Manchester United and Barcelona go head-to-head for a place in Moscow to win the biggest club prize in world football. Its all live on ESPNsoccernet.com with me, Chris Murphy.


    Join us live at 19.45 BST as Manchester United and Barcelona battle it out for a place in the Champions League final.