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A great European night following the dull first leg last week but did Manchester United deserve to win over all?
They were negative in the 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp and defended deep for long spells on Tuesday after Paul Scholes’ rocket had given them the lead.
That said, Barca failed to really open up United in either leg despite the silky skills of Lionel Messi. Samuel Eto’o was largely anonymous at Old Trafford and Thierry Henry was poor after he came on.
Was this the last European game for Frank Rijkaard as Barcelona coach?
The first all-English Champions League final beckons….in Moscow. I guess it’s too late to switch it to Wembley.
Despite seeing literally hundreds of games over the course of a season, there is the occasional match you know will stick with you forever and Thursday’s UEFA Cup quarter-final between Getafe and Bayern Munich was one of them.
It was the second Spanish-German clash I’d been to this week, having gone to the Nou Camp for the Barcelona-Schalke Champions League match the night before, but in terms of pure emotion and excitement there was absolutely no comparison. No excuses for resorting to an overused cliché because this time it is no exaggeration – this one was a real rollercoaster of a Cup tie.
It was with more than the usual haste that I strode off from the Nou Camp after Frank Rijkaard’s customary non-committal news conference on the eve of Barcelona’s Champions League match against Schalke on Tuesday. Liverpool against Arsenal was being shown on terrestrial TV here in Spain and it was one of those games that you didn’t want to miss.
So I settled down to my usual Reuters expenses supper of a bottle of beer and a Kit Kat from the hotel minibar and wasn’t disappointed. For sheer breathless excitement, intensity and entertainment the match couldn’t be beaten. The game had the Spanish commentators gasping with delight at the football being played by both sides, the commitment from the players and the non-stop support from the fans.
Marca and the rest of the Madrid-based media seem convinced of it, meaning we could be about to see the former World Player of the Year following the well trodden path of such luminaries as Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Romario, Juan Roman Riquelme, Luis Figo, Hristo Stoichkov, Bernd Schuster and Maradona.