Champions League final: Barcelona 2 Manchester United 0
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50: Messi wants a penalty for a push in the box but the referee and most of the neutrals shake their heads.
10: 1-0 to Barcelona: Samuel Eto’o. Completely against the run of play Eto’o beats Nemanja Vidic very easily to get into the box and his shot goes in despite Edwin van der Sar getting touch. That followed two more good chances for Ronaldo. Was Barcelona’s first attack…
Now the teams are in, and there are no big surprises (see below) here’s Mike Collett’s view from the press seats at the Stadio Olimpico:
Manchester United first out to warm up with 40 minutes to go before kickoff — wearing royal blue tops and white shorts with thousands of fans sainging “Glory Glory Man United…”
Barcelona following them out a couple of minutes later in vivid orange tops reminiscint of the colour they wore when they first won the European Cup in 1992 …. Weather absolutely fantastic, sky still blue, can hardly hear myself talk to colleagues next to me!
No small-talk in the back room for UEFA president Michel Platini, who is out in his seat already. Platini, of course, has decided that this will be the last CL final to be played in midweek. From next season in Madrid the final will be played on a Saturday. Platini wants more familiies and children to have the chance to see the match live and thinks a midweek final restricts schoolkids from going. What about the cost of the tickets?
And this from Mark: The “opening ceremony” starting with what looks like about 50 women dressed in red and green wearing swimming caps and holding shields. Quite what that has to do with Rome or soccer, no one is quite sure…
Barcelona: 1-Victor Valdes; 5-Carles Puyol, 24-Yaya Toure, 3-Gerard Pique, 16-Silvinho; 28-Sergio Busquets, 6-Xavi, 8-Andres Iniesta; 10-Lional Messi, 9-Samuel Eto’o, 14-Thierry Henry.
Manchester United: 1-Edwin van der Sar; 22-John O’Shea, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 15-Nemanja Vidic, 3-Patrice Evra; 13-Park Ji-sung, 16-Michael Carrick, 8-Anderson, 11-Ryan Giggs; 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 10-Wayne Rooney.
What does it mean? over to Mark Meadows in Rome: “Iniesta and Henry are fit to start for Barca with Silvinho getting the nod at left back. United’s Park Ji-sung is the first Asian to play in a Champions league final while Ryan Giggs will captain the holders.”
More to come…
Evening all, and welcome to our (first) live Champions League final blog. I’m at Reuters HQ at Canary Wharf but I’ll be passing on live updates from our reporters in the stadium — goal flashes, red cards, near misses and general observations from the best night of the European football season.
I’ll put the latest update at the top…
While we wait on definitive team news — particularly on whether Iniesta and Henry will make the Barcelona starting line-up — here’s Milan-based sports correspondent MarkMeadows, who arrived at the Stadio Olimpico a fairly comfortable five hours before kick-off:
A sprinkling of fans are beginning to enter the stadium on what continues to be another lovely sunny day. ‘FOR SIR MATT’ is written out on the seats in Man Utd’s end. It would have been Busby’s 100th birthday yesterday.
Some of those giant inflatables are also fluttering about behind one goal. Strangely they are all dressed in Barca’s kit.
Fans were congregating in the city centre from early on Wednesday. A ‘sing off’ between the two sets of supporters was heard while the Barca fans have made the Trevi fountain their spot. More United supporters were around the Colosseum.
More to come… And remember, comments are always welcome…
PHOTO: Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o (L) celebrates his goal with teammate Lionel Messi at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, May 27, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Staples