Barca dominates but can’t score. Again. ManU in the CL finals!
What a poster it is, Man United – Barcelona… Second leg semi finals Champions League. That sounds mouth watering.
Man United on the prowl for the title in England and the CL title. Barca trying to football themselves out of a depression.
Rijkaard said before the match Barca would fire on all cylinders and they certainly started like that. In the first 20 seconds Lionel Messi – playing as strong as ever – penetrated the box and got fouled. In the first 15 minutes the Blaugranas ruled at Old Trafford and the Mancunians just couldn’t get into the game. Pace was directed by Barca who didn’t show any respect for their opponents, putting the back four and Van der Sar under continuous pressure.
Man United needed something to settle in the match and it got it after 15 minutes of play. A mistake by a Barca defender, passing the ball straight through the middle trying to clear, right in front of the box. A no-no. One of the first lessons you get as a young defender. Never, ever play the ball out of defense through the middle… Scholes read the pass, intercepted the ball, took two or three steps to tee up and hit the ball wonderfully in the top corner: 1-0.
Man United settled in the game pretty nicely after that, pumping up their pace and playing with confidence. For Barca, this goal didn’t change a lot. Barca had the better of the Mancunians, because due to the 0-0 score in Camp Nou, any draw (other than another 0-0) would be in Barca’s favor.
So, Barca’s objective was to score here and Scholes’ goal didn’t change that. Barca kept on playing their traditional passing game, and at times it looked like Messi or Deco would equalize. But Man United defended very tight and the Barca-guns weren’t aimed as precisely as needed. Deco had two shots going just wide and Eto’o just didn’t have his day.
In the second half, Barca started a bit more jittery and became a bit sloppy in their haste. Manchester played more counter-attacking, committing more people to defend. Real opportunities didn’t present themselves for the indoor-futsol team of Frank Rijkaard. Some Messi dribbles, some distant shots but no real threats for Sir Alex’ team. With Henry on the pitch for Iniesta (Krkic and Gudjohnsen would follow) Barca’s pressure increased, but again – as has been the case for some time – Barca could score. The final pass was either too late, not precise enough, to fancy…you name it.
On average, ball possession stats showed a 60 : 40 ration in Barca’s advantage, but the point is not possessing the ball, but doing something with it!
I have said it here before and I will do it again… Sometimes, all that passing and probing is ENOUGH ALREADY!
Sometimes you need to close your eyes and pull the trigger.
Henry did get a decent header in the box, from a corner but the French striker couldn’t place it well enough and missed the power to trick Edwin van der Sar, who again had a couple of important saves and, I must admit, had one horrible mishit with the feet.
But, this was again one of those games where Barca couldn’t find the net even if the game went on for another two hours.
So, for the first time in the history of the CL, we’ll see two English teams in the finals in Moscow. And potentially, the same teams that slug it out in the EPL: Chelsea and Man United. We’ll know more by tomorrow.
Sir Alex is happy, Sar may get to play his third finals to win his second cup, Scholes won’t be suspended this time around, Frank may be on his way out and Barca needs an injection of new fresh players.
i hope man u lose the final, after what furgeson did to van nistelrooy, i can’t stand him anymore, i felt very bad for rijkaard today!!! he is done with barca i guess!!
i’m very sad. but if a team cannot score in 180 mns doesn’t have its place in the final. messi is god but except him,yaya and xavi the others underperformed tonight. i’m interested what kind of changes will happen at barca. i guess frankie will be replaced by laudrup,and hope that van der vaart and huntelaar will become members of the blaugrana family. anyway mu haven’t done too much but they did it well. unfortunately. hope chelsea (or pool) will win the cl.
Posted from Hungary
Right after the semis Rijkaard said: “I won’t resign!”
“I don’t have the intention to leave the club. I don’t even think about it. The club needs help and support in this phase and I’m not running away. It would be different if the players don’t want to work with me anymore. But they don’t say that. Barca is a very big club, with very professional people at the helm. They will take their decisions at the end of the season and they will do whatever is necessary.”
Posted from Australia
Well, as a United fan obviously I’m happy with the result. Rijkaard though is just not a very good manager. He has the most talented squad in world football at the moment, but the way they played was incredibly disappointing from his perspective. It’s not a one off thing either. A Frank Rijkaard team dominating another side in a semi-final, unable to create any clearcut chances from open play and coming away goaless and knocked out – remind any of you guys of a certain other match circa 2000? He desperately needs a plan B. That such impotent possession football could carry on ineffectually for 180 goaless minutes is really hapless from a Barca perspective. Barca also had 17 shots to United’s 7 by the way. I think Rijkaard will definitely be gone, whatever he says.
As for United – I’ve seen people elsewhere saying they don’t deserve to be in the final, but that’s ridiculous. I think there can be little doubt that the United defence is the best in the world right now and Rio Ferdinand is the best defender. Just a brilliant performance by him, Brown and Evra. In fact, Evra missed out on being in the PFA team of the season to Clichy, which is just absurd. Again, United’s attacking players seemed nervous, but the crowd just about got them through. I think against English opposition in the final they’ll be less likely to freeze up and hopefully Ronaldo won’t bottle it.
A word on Van der Sar – another very solid display – I love the way he often holds onto the ball where other keepers wouldn’t dare try to, and does everything so simply – no extravangant punches. Again, though, the kicking was not so good, especially on the left foot. He gets rid, but often concedes throw ins to the opposition. I hope it’s stopped some of you saying his kicking is a strength, because it’s just not.
Posted from Japan
rijkaard is not a good manager!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! are we kidding?????????? come on, when he took over barcelona, the team was a complete disaster, they had changed a lot of managers before him, and nothing was working out for barcelona, till he got there and made them win the league title twice and the champions league and the year they won the champions league they played the sweetest soccer you can ever see. what changed?? some of the players now need to be kicked out of the team thats ittttttttttt. but please don’t tell me he is just not a good manager.
@Rob: it might not be Edwin’s strength at the moment because he’s 37 but do you remember Ajax ‘95 or the ‘98 national team!!! he was like a 5th defender, defenders trusted him and he never made 1 single mistake but that’s just my opinion and I respect other opinions.
I think Rijkaard is an OK coach. Barca has some players that have to be sacked like Eto’o, this guy doesn’t play for the team and I was really mad when he criticized Ronaldinho last year, this kind of attitude is killing the Barca environment.
“unable to create any clearcut chances from open play and coming away goaless and knocked out – remind any of you guys of a certain other match circa 2000?”
No, it doesnt.
Lerkot he is referring to the Euro 2000 semifinal, where Oraanje lost to Italy on penalties and fdb and Kluivert failed to score from the spot.
Thin the Barca team is what we call in Holland a ‘toothless tiger’… this team really reminds me of an Oranje team out of form in the early 90s’, lots of possession but nothing thats comes out of this…Barca never looked like scoring, nice and easy game for Mn.U.
im not so sure bout Rijkaard as a manager…istnt he just like all the other 88 boys…vBasten, Koeman, Wouters, vant Schip, Witsche…arent they all just people with nothing to do, who just want to stay in touch with football cause they miss the attention?? Ferenc; has Rijkaard made any of the barca players better players??
btw; just read that Kluivert wants to become a manager aswell…great!! he can show his young players all the bars and whorehouses where they can f up their careers
Posted from Netherlands
Oh, all those wonderful comments …
I fully understand Rob’s position (although I don’t fully agree with him).
It’s a fact that Barca’s effectiveness is truly disappointing. I find that too. It’s almost frustrating to see all that carousel football without any clear cut chances. They tend to keep at the passing game too long! That is definitely something Rijkaard should address!! Secondly, the balance in the team seems lost and that too is something Rijkaard is responsible for.
But, it’s virtually impossible to judge a manager on his results. You should be around their training session and tactical prep talks to be able to judge someone’s work, right?
The results and the quality of play in the last four years were good. I think they took a gamble with the lack of fresh faces. Sir alex has been criticized for allowing good players to leave Man U too soon (Stam, Ruud, Beckham, etc) but sometimes you can leave it too late. I think Rijkaard is guilty of that now with Barca. There doesn’t seem to be a real hunger anymore (Deco, Eto’o, Ronnie). The signing of Henry was a mistake too. I saw that one coming. Henry is ideal in a team that plays counter-attacking football (4-4-2) with at least 8 guys playing in his service. At Barca, there’s too much chiefs and not enough indians.
I don’t think Rijkaard belongs in the list Gullit, Ronald Koeman. Neither does Wouters and Van Basten will have to prove himself at club level before I will pass judgement on him (in general). As a national team manager, he did ok but certainly not fantastic. But I wouldn’t call him a total failure either.
As for Sar, maybe it’s his age, maybe it’s his groin injury. But in England, kicking the ball in the stands is seen as a heroic act. Defenders and goalies are basically cheered when they kick the ball in the stands. JC wants said that when your team is played out position, it can be killing to keep the ball in play. By kicking it in the stands, at least you can reposition and get your organization in order.
I think it’s too hard to blame Rijkaard for the EC2000 semis. The only mistake he made is bringing Van Vossen. But that’s the same as looking a cow in the arse. (Dutch expression). If Van Vossen would have scored, Rijkaard was the ultimate hero. If you can’t score against ten Eyetalians and you miss two penalty kicks (Dennis missed two big opps as well) then it’s game over! And Rijkaard can’t kick the penalties, his players needed to. And both P Kluivert and F de Boer were specialists, so what can you say… I was very sad when he left after that game, by the way. Would have loved to see him take revenge at the WC2002. But, again, that’s looking a cow in the….? Right!
Posted from Australia
I do believe Man United’s back 5 (including Sar) is world class! Brown, Evra, Ferdinand… Very strong. I also liked Park yesterday, and Carrick.
If you reach the finals in the CL, you can’t claim the team “isn’t worth much”.
Posted from Australia
United is much more ballanced..with Barca its like seeing all of the same kinda players…all ponys with the same tricks
Posted from Netherlands
i do believe too that manu’s defence is the best of the world. i hate this team especially because of their football-killer tactics showed yesterday evening and one week before. without zambrotta’s childish mistake it would have been 0-0 and penalties. but the point is our effectiveness. this is the main problem. Jan: i would keep eto’ – he was injured quite often and he still has the hunger. he had 2 very bad games. frankie is a good manager – in 2003 barca was in a catastrophic state (after luis’second spell). frankie,laporta and ronnie were the key of the new look barca. but after the cl success in 2006 some players started to believe that they were gods… henry: laporta’s biggest mistake was to sign him. until his arrival the messi-eto’o-ronnie trio worked perfectly. + everyone knew at this time that bojan would come. with henry one person became surplus,we did not need him. his style doesn’t fit to barca.
but really hope that manu won’t win neither the cl nor the pl.
Posted from Hungary
ferenc said “really hope that manu won’t win neither the cl nor the pl”
while i would normally agree whole heartedly, the sad truth is that the only alternative to manU winning the cl or pl is chelsea in both cases, which is even worse…either way shame on manU for having so much talent and still lacking the balls to play attacking football even when at home.
Posted from Canada
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