UEFA Champions League

May 27, 2009



2 - 0

Manchester United

UEFA Champions League

18:45 +00:00, May 27, 2009

Stadio Olimpico, Italy

Referee: Massimo Busacca

  • 100'

    So, there we are, Barcelona deservedly lift the Champions League trophy while Manchester United scuttle back to England with their tails between their legs. Don't forget to join us for the FA Cup on Saturday as the curtain falls on our domestic season. Thanks for your company, and bye for now.

  • 99'

    Sir Alex coughs and splutters through his post-match interview but manages to force out an admission: "In fairness, we were beaten by the better team tonight." Quite right too.

  • 98'

    There it is! Puyol hoists the trophy aloft and Barcelona are Champions League winners 2009!

  • 97'

    And now here come the best team in Europe, and probably the world. Even Sir Alex applauds as Barca skip up to get their medals and lift that ridiculously large, gleaming trophy.

  • 96'

    There are no tears from United as they go up to collect their runners-up medals. Ryan Giggs shakes his head and wonders why his team mates didn't turn up tonight. Barca form a guard of honour as the white shirts head to the podium.

  • 95'

    The post mortem begins for United. Was the system right? Were they too open? Were they physical enough, or fit enough? How did their confidence drain so completely after going behind?

  • 94'

    Barcelona's night was transformed as soon as Eto'o gave them the lead, then the confidence oozed back into their systems and they rediscovered their blistering best. Passing and moving with such ease, and creating space for fun. What a team, and what a comprehensive win.

  • 94'

    Barcelona thoroughly deserve their title and Manchester United can have no complaints. They were a shadow of their usual selves tonight and after a strong ten minutes, completely faded away. United were utterly wasteful with the ball and it's not often you can level that accusation at them.

  • 94'

    It's all over! Barcelona are the European Champions!

  • 93'

    Vidic gets a yellow after clattering into Messi as Barca's bench begins the celebrations.

  • 92'

    Barca's man of the match, Iniesta, is coming off to a great reception. Pedro comes on.

  • 91'

    A half-hearted ball from Rooney rolls out of play as the clock runs down. Barca's fans are creating a right old racket.

  • 90'

    Three minutes added as Rooney typifies United's performance with a poor cross from the left.

  • 89'

    Rooney telegraphs a ball to Evra and Puyol steps in. The only surprise is that one of United's hotheads hasn't got himself sent off.

  • 88'

    United have been playing 4-2-4 for the last 20 minutes but haven't once looked menacing. Barcelona are about to become deserving European champions.

  • 87'

    There can be no post-match warbling from United. Apart from the first ten minutes they have been second best by a distance. Why they've been so sluggish I don't know.

  • 86'

    Now Berbatov has a free header from a corner and hits it over the bar. Rubbish.

  • 85'

    The ref waved play on as Puyol lay in a heap and their counter summed up their malaise this evening as Berbatov overhits a simple ball for Tevez. They had four on five too.

  • 84'

    Puyol should have scored - again! A gorgeous move slotted the right back in but his first touch was poor and Van der Sar smothered the ball. Then Puyol went down in a heap, as per.

  • 83'

    Barca are taking the mickey now, caressing it around while United chase shadows.

  • 82'

    Barca going to ground very easily now, though that can't be said of Messi who was clattered by Evra there.

  • 81'

    Barca are sitting deep now and spraying it around casually whenever a United move breaks down. No '99 style comeback this time you feel.

  • 80'

    Scholes gets a yellow card for a horrible lunge on Busquets. Xavi is horrified and berates the Gigner Ninja, just like he shouted at Ronaldo a minute ago.

  • 79'

    Iniesta lashes one at Van der Sar but the keeper holds it well.

  • 78'

    Ronaldo gets a yellow card for barging into Puyol. It was more for cumulative fouling I think, and Xavi goes across to read him the riot act.

  • 77'

    Come on United, let's have a goal and make these last ten minutes interesting.

  • 76'

    You don't see Messi pot many headers but that was a beauty. He didn't try to power it, he just guided it back from whence it came and executed it superbly.

  • 75'

    Scholes on for Giggs, who will have nightmares about his miss. It was on his cursed right foot but even so, he HAD to score.

  • 74'

    It should have been three! Xavi's free kick finds Puyol unmarked but he powers a header right at Van der Sar!

  • 73'

    Ronaldo lunges in horribly on Puyol but makes minimal contact. Lucky to escape a yellow.

  • 72'

    What a chance for United to get back into it! Rooney crosses and Giggs misses his kick, ten yards out with the goal at his mercy. Valdes is then out sharply to block as the ball trickled to Ronaldo.

  • 71'

    A superb goal but completely preventable. Evra and Ronaldo must take the blame for that. What a finish though; Messi first goal against an English side.

  • 70'

    United made a mess of possession, Puyol nips in and gets it down the right for Xavi and he swings in a delightful cross for Messi to plant a perfect header back across Van der Sar.

  • 70'

    GOAL! Messi!

  • 69'

    Tevez spreads it wide for Rooney and he wins another corner.

  • 68'

    Carrick's radar is way off tonight as he misplaces another ball, this time for Ronaldo.

  • 67'

    Puyol needs no invitation to hit the deck as Ronaldo challenges him in the air. That is an equal contest; girl on girl.

  • 66'

    Henry now gets a shot off as the final begins to hot up. Park is coming off and Berbatov is on. The correct call from Sir Alex I think.

  • 65'

    Iniesta is afforded the freedom of Rome again and he gets as far as the penalty area before Ferdinand barges him off the ball, fairly I might add.

  • 64'

    Vidic goes up for the corner but can't connect. Berbatov is coming on. Who for? Park or Giggs?

  • 63'

    United are getting into their stride here, Rooney gets down the right in space with Ronaldo in the middle but Pique blocks the cross.

  • 62'

    Scholes warming up on the sidelines.

  • 61'

    United won't get many openings like that you feel, especially if Barca retreat deeper and deeper to protect their lead.

  • 60'

    Ronaldo squares to Carrick who hits a poor ball inside Sylvinho for Rooney and the chance is lost. It wasn't a difficult slot and if he'd got it right Rooney was in.

  • 59'

    O'Shea is fouled by Henry is a reversal of the usual form.

  • 58'

    United also need to get stuck in a bit more and put Barca's back line under far more pressure. They've had it too easy for too long here.

  • 57'

    Sloppy control from Rooney as he tried to lay-off Van der Sar's punt to Carrick. They've looked out of sorts all night in truth. Still time to recover the situation though.

  • 56'

    Chance! Rooney crosses and Ronaldo can't toe end it in before Park just can't climb enough to head it goalwards.

  • 55'

    Better from United; a spell of possession in Barca's third, but no clear cut chance as of yet. O'Shea gives the ball away under no pressure again.

  • 54'

    Rooney collects a ball from Rooney and swings in a cross as United try to compose themselves.

  • 53'

    Xavi has hit the post! He went round the wall instead of over it and it smacks the upright!

  • 52'

    United have been awful so far this half. Iniesta is allowed to run unchecked for 30 yards before Vidic brings him down right on the edge of the area. Big chance for Barca.

  • 51'

    Now Messi screams for a penalty after O'Shea looked to lay an arm on him as he lunged for Eto's pass inside the area. Barca can smell a second here. United are wide open.

  • 50'

    Another chance for Barca as Sylvinho crosses and Eto'o heads right at Van der Sar with the goal gaping.

  • 49'

    As soon as the move broke down Henry galloped down the left, cut inside Ferdinand and only a vital save from Van der Sar prevents Barca going two nil up.

  • 48'

    O'Shea heads forward and swaps passes with Ronaldo but loses possession.

  • 47'

    Henry crosses and Vidic heads away. Tevez has gone right side in a three pronged attack.

  • 46'

    We begin again..

  • 45'

    United change: Tevez on and Anderson off. I'd have removed Park myself.

  • 45'

    A wonderful run from Iniesta ends the half on a high for Barca as he skips past Carrick and floats in a ball for Henry but Ferdinand does his job. What a captivating half. See you back here for the second installment in 15 minutes.

  • 44'

    Rooney is playing centrally now and Giggs has gone out wide left. Messi gets round the left again and crosses but even though Van der Sar half spills it, there is no blue and red shirt there to profit.

  • 43'

    Rooney turns beautifully and feeds Carrick but Toure gets the thinnest of touches on the ball meaning Pique can get there first.

  • 42'

    Carrick swings a ball over the top for Ronaldo but Valdes is out to hack away.

  • 41'

    Park falls over the ball as United looked to get in down the right. Great pressing from Barca. I think Park may bite the dust at half time.

  • 40'

    Rooney is flagged offside after straying a yard ahead of Barca's back line.

  • 39'

    Some slick passing from United but Busquets does well to get in the way of a Carrick pass that looked for O'Shea.

  • 38'

    Ronaldo embarks on her first strop after running into Toure. Nothing doing from the referee.

  • 37'

    A simple ball over the top from Xavi finds Puyol in acres of space down the right. Danger signs for United if even Puyol is emerging as an attacking threat.

  • 36'

    Pique gets in front of Vidic but misses Iniesta's corner. Barca looking more likely to grab a second than United to get an equaliser at present.

  • 34'

    Toure and Puyol forrage down the right. The former beating Rooney with ease then slotting in the latter, who wins a corner.

  • 33'

    Evra pumps in a tired ball that Valdes claims easily. Surely he should be taking on Puyol and testing his pace. United fans all but silent too.

  • 32'

    Rooney is forced back to Ferdinand despite picking up the ball in the last third. United are looking increasingly toothless.

  • 30'

    Vidic again looks unconvincing when confronted with Messi. I bet he's got that game with Liverpool running on a loop in his brain.

  • 29'

    Vidic nods another wayward ball back to Van der Sar who gets out of jail by taking it wide and flicking it down the line to Evra. Dangerous ploy Edwin.

  • 28'

    Messi is sandwiched by Rooney and Ferdinand and draws the foul even though he emerged from the bundle with the ball still at his feet.

  • 27'

    Oooh that was close! Van der Sar had it covered but it wasn't far off the postage stamp from Xavi.

  • 26'

    The free kick is level with the left edge of the area and about 30 yards from goal...

  • 25'

    O'Shea does well to hold up Henry as Iniesta fed him down the left. Barca still have it though and win a free kick as Iniesta is tackled from behind by Anderson.

  • 24'

    Barca stroking it about without a care in the world now.

  • 23'

    Messi has gone wide right now and Henry has drifted back to the left.

  • 22'

    Rooney wins a corner and Ronaldo nods it over the bar as he was leaning back.

  • 21'

    Valdes requires treatment after being hurt in the challenge with Park. The tele have just super slow-mo'd Eto'o's goal celeb and it looked like something out of Trainspotting as he slapped the protruding vein in his forearm like an addict.

  • 20'

    Nice football from United as Anderson looks for Park down the right channel. Valdes comes out to clear, then as United build again Ronaldo screws a shot wide from 20 yards. Rooney wanted it wide, and should have got it.

  • 19'

    Messi gets the ball from Eto'o and smashes a ferocious shot just over the bar! How does such a tiny little man get bullet-like power out of those size three boots?

  • 17'

    Ryan Giggs takes this one and curls it a yard over the bar. Ronaldo does not look happy. The first and last free kick Giggs will get in range one feels...

  • 16'

    Ronaldo over the free kick again...

  • 15'

    Ronaldo runs at Pique and the big centre half bodychecks him to the ground. A deserved yellow card for the defender. It could have been more as Toure was a couple of yards behind Ronaldo going into the area.

  • 14'

    Now even Giggs hits a pass right to the opposition.

  • 13'

    United look shellshocked here. They looked crisp and assured for ten minutes, then Vidic allows Eto'o an easy run on goal and they fall to pieces. Barca's front three are switching positions frequently now too, which presents a catalogue of problems for an already nervy defence.

  • 12'

    What a well worked corner! Iniesta fired it short to the onrushing Messi who missed his kick from 16 yards out. A gilt-edged chance to make it 2-0. Now Carrick hits a ball right at Eto'o! Crazy what a goal does eh?

  • 11'

    Now United give away an unecessary corner after a stray back pass. They're wobbling after such a confident opening.

  • 10'

    Barca's first attack of any note results in a goal! Astonishing. Iniesta charges past Carrick and finds Eto'o who cuts inside Vidic and hits a right foot shot underneath Van der Sar. Game on!

  • 10'

    GOAL! Eto'o!

  • 9'

    Another opening for Ronaldo who takes the ball down on his chest and flashes a volley just wide of the far post from the edge of the box. Ronaldo 2-0 Messi so far.

  • 8'

    Barca are struggling here, nor Messi, Henry or Eto'o have touched the ball yet. United spot on with their gameplan so far.

  • 7'

    Ronaldo tries to recreate his wonder goal at Porto by turning, running into space and smashing a shot goalwards. It flies two yards wide on this occasion though.

  • 6'

    Rooney just overhits his pass after a nice overlap from Giggs. Puyol was on his heels.

  • 5'

    The pitch looks resplendent and has obviously been watered heavily because the ball is skipping off the turf with pace.

  • 4'

    Some nerves on show from Park as he slots a comfortable pass to O'Shea straight out of play. United are closing Barca down as soon as they get the ball. The Spanish champions can't get into their stride.

  • 3'

    The swerving ball has Valdes in all sorts of trouble but he manages a parry and as Park follows in to score Pique gets a block on his shot! Brilliant defending.

  • 2'

    Anderson draws the first free kick after nutmegging Toure. You-know-who grabs the ball..

  • 1'

    The Champions League final 2009 begins!


    An epic Andrea Bocelli warble greets the sides as both ends erupt into their own specialised choruses. We're all set...


    No wonder they call it the Stadio Olimpico; we're currently 'enjoying' a bizarre and enigmatic opening ceremony any Olympic games would be proud of in which 100 women in red jump suits are battling each other with plastic gold shields. Gerrem off man, and let us get this footballing duel under way.


    Right, its stick yer neck out time - the section of the show where I leave myself wide open to heavy ridicule with a wildly inaccurate prediction of what is about to happen. I say 3-2 to Manchester United in an almost-classic.


    Our venue, the Stadio Olimpico, looks utterly resplendent. Its a balmy evening in Rome, the light is fading and the ground is steadily filling up. You can almost reach out and tickle the electric atmosphere, even through the tele.


    To excuse myself from accusations of non-comprehensiveness (if that's even a word) here are the unfortunate beggars on the bench for either side. Barca: Pinto, Cáceres, Gudjohnsen, Bojan, Keita, Rodríguez and Muniesa. United: Kuszczak, Berbatov, Nani, Scholes, Rafael, Evans and Tévez.


    Pep Guardiola has had to shuffle his pack with Dani Alves and Abidal suspended but his two big injury doubts, Henry and Iniesta, start. Toure drops back to centre half and Sylvinho comes in.


    So, Sir Alex Ferguson keeps faith with the side that took Arsenal apart at the Emirates in the semi-final. Rio Ferdinand is fit, Park starts after being left out last year while Rooney and Ronaldo, of course, are up top.


    Barcelona: Valdes, Toure, Puyol, Pique, Sylvinho, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Henry and Eto'o.


    Teams are in. Man Utd: Van der Sar, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Anderson, Carrick, Giggs, Park, Ronaldo and Rooney.


    How fitting the stage is the Eternal City because we should be in for an epic night of football between the two best teams on the planet. Both play attacking football, both are jam packed with superstars and both are not Chelsea. I think we can all be grateful for that.


    Good evening one and all. Welcome to live coverage of the Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona with me, Chris Murphy. We have quite an evening in store methinks.