NEWS
Saturday May 28 2011
Barca dominate Champions Final

Barcelona are the new Champions of Europe after crushing Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley.

There were surprises in the line-ups, as Eric Abidal started just six weeks after undergoing surgery for tumour in his liver, while Javier Mascherano moved to centre-back for the not 100 per cent fit Carles Puyol.

United had a strong and aggressive start at Wembley Stadium, but it was the Spaniards who soon dominated possession and found the net first.

Xavi's pass with the outside of his right boot rolled across the United defence for Pedro, who side-footed past Edwin van der Sar from 12 yards.

The lead didn't last long, as six minutes later Manchester United equalised by pouncing on a defensive error.

Wayne Rooney exchanged passes with Ryan Giggs to burst into the box and smash his finish over Victor Valdes.

Barca restored their advantage after the break when defenders stood off Leo Messi and he unleashed a daisy-cutter from the edge of the box that seemed to surprise van der Sar.

The Blaugrana had several more chances, forcing van der Sar to parry with his legs from Messi and having his palms stung by Xavi.

It was now total domination from Pep Guardiola's side and after difficulty clearing a Messi solo run, David Villa curled brilliantly from the D into the near top corner.

Giggs had late penalty appeals, but David Villa was too close to get his hand out of the way of that cross.

In a touching gesture, Abidal was given the captain's armband and lifted the trophy just two months after the tumour was diagnosed.

Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United

Scorers: Pedro 27 (B), Rooney 34 (M), Messi 54 (B), David Villa 69 (B)

Barcelona: Valdes; Dani Alves (Puyol 88), Mascherano, Piqué, Abidal; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Messi, David Villa (Keita 86), Pedro (Afellay 92)

Manchester United: van der Sar; Fabio (Nani 69), Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick (Scholes 77), Giggs, Park ji Sung; Rooney, Hernandez

Ref: Kassai (Hun)

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