Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ATH: Barcelona!!!!

This is no bandwagon!! It's my two favorite teams in the world playing each other for the title of Best in Europe!! Great Matchup, Great Game, Wow!!!

Barcelona throttles United for Champions title
Eto’o, Messi score to give Spanish club its 2nd championship in 4 years
The Associated Press, updated 3:56 p.m. CT, Wed., May 27, 2009

ROME - Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday night to win the European Champions League for the second time in four seasons, dominating behind goals from Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi.

Eto’o put the Spanish champions ahead in the 10th minute at the Stadio Olimpico. The three-time African player of the year from Cameroon took a pass from Andres Iniesta, cut around defender Nemanja Vidic and beat Edwin van der Sar. The goalkeeper got a touch on the right-footed shot but couldn’t keep it from going in at the near post.

Messi, a 21-year-old star of Argentina’s national team, easily won the glamour duel with reigning FIFA Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi scored on a header in the 70th off a cross from Xavi Hernandez, his ninth goal of the tournament and his first in 11 games against English opponents.

Messi, who had 38 of Barcelona’s 153 goals this season, set off colorful celebrations at one end of the stadium, filled with 62,467 fans, and left the other end in silence.

In its first season under coach Pep Guardiola, who started as a ball boy at Camp Nou, Barcelona won Europe’s top club competition for the third time following victories in 1992 and 2006. It also swept Spain’s La Liga and Copa del Rey.

Manchester United, which won the Premier League, English League Cup and Club World Cup, was trying to become the first team to win consecutive European titles since AC Milan in 1989-90. The Red Devils also won the tournament in 1968 and 1999.

United was thoroughly outplayed. South Korean winger Park Ji-sung became the first Asian to play in a Champions League final and almost scored in the opening minute but his shot was deflected wide after Ronaldo’s free kick was blocked by goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

In an effort to tie the score, United manager Alex Ferguson brought on Carlos Tevez for midfielder Anderson at the start of the second half, then added Berbatov for Park in the 66th. Ferguson’s final move was to insert Paul Scholes for Ryan Giggs in the 75th.

United defender Rio Ferdinand, and Barcelona forward Thierry Henry and Iniesta all started after overcoming injuries. It was the first Champions League title for Henry, who played for the Arsenal team that lost to Barcelona in 2006.

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