Sunday, May 29, 2011
It happened. As I have feared. A repeat of Rome 2009.
Only this time, the Barcelona team was at their peak.
Guardiola has won it for the 2nd time in 3 years. A terrific feat for a manager as young as he is.
But in all honesty, he had the pleasure of inheriting a great side, one that has risen through the ranks of the Barcelona youth system. Which reminds me of the class of 92 of United's side, arguable one of the best in Europe during it's peak.
But today, it was all about Barca.
Fluid passing between midfield and attack. Victor Valdez acting as the sweeper and last man and triumphing over United's attack bids.
Messi was uncontainable and it took at least 2-3 men to try to do it. Which leaves room for the other dangermen, Xavi and the swift Villa and Pedro to break through the defence.
United, like in Rome 2009, started the better of the teams. Playing their usual passing game and giving us fans some decency of a challenge for the first 15 minutes or so. Then after that, it was all but over but more on the defence against Barca's onslaught.
Barca drew first blood first with a sweet Xavi through pass and Pedro's strike at Van Der Sar's near post after 27 minutes. Not bad, United lasted longer this time.
And before half time, few passes between Fabio, Rooney, Carrick, Giggs and back to Rooney conjured and equalizer which we thought would never happened. United seemeed like they were back on their feet. It was a wonderful goal and a beautiful one at that. It was game on before half time.
And in the 2nd half, Barca once again proved that their prowess was unmatchable. Messi, always the dangerman, created space for himself out of nothing and scored the 2nd. And at the 69th minute, Villa sealed the victory. As how it was reported, Nani committed suicide by giving the ball away at the box to Messi, who didnt do much with it. But Busquets laid it for Villa to strike it at the top left Corner and Van Der Sar, after making so many heroic saves, couldn't touch it no matter how much he stretched.
So, United was deservingly beaten, because of many things i.e., Park giving the ball away too cheaply although his defensive play was spot on, the usual long ball tactics, Giggs couldn't focus or execute his creative plays, Valencia pretty much made many fouls but got away most of the time, Vidic and Ferdinand were not marking tight enough and Evra wasn't having such a good day, Carrick disappeared once again.
As a friend exclaimed, United didn't have a defensive player who was daunting and intimidating like how Roy Keane or Patrick Viera operated. Barca had Mascherano and he had a decent game.
But hey, it's all too easy to say all this. But the truth is the truth. United were no match for Barcelona and it's just that.
And as the final whistle blew, Alex Ferguson congratulated Guardiola with a rare smile to other managers, perhaps noting that his side was truly and undoubtedly beaten.
I would applaud the Barca win as well, as they won it deservingly. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
And also as I end this post with some sadness and awe at the same time, but also encouraged that United can only get better from this, I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to Van Der Sar. His career has been an illustrious one and he will no doubt rank as one of the United Keeping greats together with the Great Dane.
Indeed the flying dutch will be missed by all United fans in unison.
Thank you Van Der Sar!
And thank you Barcelona for an emphatic win!
Now, it's time to get my long awaited shut eye and back to reality..