Champions League Semifinal: Manchester United at Barcelona (Running Commentary)

Champions League Semifinal: Manchester United at Barcelona (Running Commentary)

European Soccer

Champions League Semifinal: Manchester United at Barcelona (Running Commentary)

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The match-up is finally here. Manchester United vs. Barcelona. Two of the most storied clubs in the world, two of the most star-studded squads in the world, ready to battle with a place in the Champions League final on the line.

The first leg of their semifinal series takes place in Barcelona today (2:45pm, ESPN2) and there are storylines galore. You have Man U defender Nemanja Vidic coming down with an illness the day before the game. You have Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi battling to see who can make the bigger impact. You have Rio Ferdinand trying to stop Samuel Eto’o or Thierry Henry (or both). You have Wayne Rooney and/or Carlos Tevez potentially doing battle with Carles Puyol.

So many great subplots in what should be a far more entertaining series than the Chelsea-Liverpool semifinal series (comical own goals notwithstanding).

I will be doing a live commentary on the match so feel free to follow the match here. Even if you’re watching the match yourself, if you happen to be online please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on the match in the comments section below. I have a feeling we’ll have plenty to talk about.

Enjoy the match.

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FINAL– Barcelona 0, Manchester United 0. Both squads will come away upset to not have won. Cristiano Ronaldo’s missed penalty cost Man U the win while Barcelona’s wasted free kicks and heavy advantage in possession failed to produce a single goal. I think Man U has to have the edge heading back to Old Trafford, where they have been deadly all season.

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90th minute– Barcelona has to feel disappointed about not finding a single goal despite a truckload of free kicks and possession.

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88th minute– Another Barcelona free kick. It’s about 28 yards out straight in front of goal. SAVE VAN DER SAR. Henry hits a hard blast but VDS had enough time to find it.

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84th minute– Barcelona has certainly dominated possession today but Manchester United set out to sit back and counter like it did in the away leg against Roma. The strategy is working from the standpoint that it’s keeping Barcelona off the board, but Man U hasn’t come close to an away goal since Ronaldo missed that early penalty.

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82nd minute– Thierry Henry forces a save from Van Der Sar. Good chance.

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76th minute– Nani comes in for Wayne Rooney, who didn’t really have an impact on the match. He spent more time defending than attacking today.

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67th minute– Bojan Krkik is already causing some problems. The kid is nasty and capable of finding a game-winner here.

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64th minute– Messi showed some flashes but you can tell he hasn’t been playing for a while. We can only dream what this match-up would have been like with both teams at full strength.

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63rd minute– Messi has left the match and you wonder how that affects Barcelona. He didn’t have a great match, though it was his first action in a while.

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HALFTIME– Ronaldo sends the free kick wide and we head into halftime scoreless. Man U got off to a fast start but Barcelona took over for a long stretch. Man U regained control the last 10-15 minutes. It should be a fun second half.

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44th minute– Ronaldo draws a free kick on Marquez, who gets a yellow in the process. Another dangerous free kick spot for Man U.

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41st minute– Man U earns a good free kick spot after Zambrotta takes down Evra.

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38th minute– I’m not sure about that foul call on Scholes. That was a phantom call.

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34th minute– Eto’o gets into a dangerous spot but his kick is blocked. Barca is getting close.

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33rd minute– Tevez with a nice elbow to Zambrotta’s throat. He definitely meant to do that.

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32nd minute– Messi schools Patrice Evra and then Scholes brings down Deco for a decent free kick for Barcelona.

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29th minute– Ronaldo shouts for a penalty. Not sure he had a case there.

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23rd minute– This has been a very good game to watch from a tactical and technical standpoint. Good ball movement and good movement off the ball. The goals aren’t coming, but this won’t end 0-0.

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21st minute– A weak Barcelona free kick goes right to Van Der Sar. Still waiting to see Van Der Sar tested.

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19th minute– Not sure about Wes Brown today. He looks a bit shaky.

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17th minute– Man U corner is wasted.

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15th minute– Tell you what, if Ronaldinho were healthy he puts that kick into the net.

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14th minute– The Man U wall blocks Marquez’s free kick. A pretty bad kick.

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13th minute– Carlos Tevez with a dangerous foul that sets up a Barcelona free kick from 19 yards out.

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9th minute– Barcelona is knocking on the door now. Man U is on its heels.

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6th minute– Barcelona is knocking the ball around now but haven’t found the killer pass yet.

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3rd minute- RONALDO MISSES THE PK. He hits it wide right. He tried too hard to place it on the top corner. WOW

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2nd minute- PENALTY!!! A Barcelona handball by Milito off a Ronaldo header. Good call.

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1st minute– You have to wonder how long it will be before Marquez gets exposed by Tevez and Ronaldo.

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1st minute– And we’re off.

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PRE-GAME– Here is the Man U lineup:

————–Tevez———-Ronaldo————-

——-Park—————————–Rooney

—————-Scholes——Carrick—————-

Evra—–Ferdinand——-Brown—–Hargreaves

——————–Van Der Sar———————-

Here is the Barcelona lineup:

——Iniesta——–Eto’o—————Messi-

————–Deco———-Xavi—————–

———————Toure———————–

Abidal——–Milito——-Marquez—–Zambrotta

———————–Valdez———————-

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