Posted on May 27, 2009
Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto’o both scored in an impressive 2-0 victory over Manchester United to become European Champions.
Barcelona became the champions of Europe for the third time on Wednesday night after defeating Manchester United 2-0 in Rome.
Pep Guardiola’s men were at their breathtaking best in the Champions League final as goals from Samuel Eto’o (10) and Lionel Messi (70) earned the Catalan giants their third trophy of the season after already claiming La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
United had no answer to Barca’s slick passing and Guardiola becomes part of a select group who have now won Europe’s top club competition both as a player and a coach.
But it all started so well for United, who were looking to protect a 25-match unbeaten run in the tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo was given the opportunity to line up a very early free-kick that Victor Valdes could not hold.
Following up, Ji-Sung Park must have thought he was going to score but Gerard Pique made an excellent tackle to save the day for Barcelona.
After a neat move involving Patrice Evra and Anderson, Ronaldo was not far away with another stinging shot.
But there was a nasty shock looming for the Premier League champions as Barca went in front on their first attack.
Andres Iniesta played a pass to Eto’o that allowed the Cameroon striker to step inside Nemanja Vidic.
Michael Carrick closed in to make the tackle, but Eto’o managed to toe-poke the ball with enough force to take it past Edwin van der Sar.
Pique was booked when he blocked off Ronaldo’s surge towards the penalty area after Giggs found him with a crossfield pass.
This time Giggs took the curling free-kick but could not keep it on target.
Messi flashed a shot over the bar after cutting in off the right flank, Barcelona looking to exploit gaps that would inevitably appear as United searched for an equaliser.
A brilliant passing move from Barcelona ended when Anderson barged Iniesta over on the edge of the area.
Xavi took the free-kick, although van der Sar seemed to have it covered as it curled wide.
Barcelona started brightly and Theirry Henry was released down the left and skipped inside Rio Ferdinand before his shot was smothered by van der Sar.
And on 53 minutes Xavi almost made it 2-0, but his superb curling free-kick rebounded back of van der Sar’s left-hand upright.
But United bounced back quickly and after a spell of possession, Rooney swung over a ball from the right which just evaded a diving Park at the far post.
However with United threatening to peg back the Spanish champions Barcelona made it 2-0 with 20 minutes to go when Xavi’s inch-perfect cross from the right was headed expertly back across van der Sar and into the far corner by Messi.
Just moments later both Giggs and Ronaldo saw close-range efforts repelled by Valdes.
But Carles Puyol almost made it 3-0 with five minutes to go only for van der Sar to repel his close range shot after another slick passing move.