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5.28.2009

Barcelona wins the Champions League and frustrates Ronaldo's dream

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This time the crown was not meant to be earned by United. With a 2-0 triumph at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Wednesday, Barcelona have now won their third UEFA Champions League Championship, and have become the first Spanish team to win La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League all in the same season, which allowed Barcelona to become the first Spanish team to win the treble, and the first team since the Red Devils in 1999 to accomplish this feat in Europe.

To start off the match, rookie manager Josep Guardiola had to replace the suspended defenders Daniel Alves and Eric Abidal, so he replaced them with Sylvinho and Carles Puyol. He also started both Thierry Henry and Stamford Bridge hero Andrés Iniesta after they were declared fit after a training session on Monday.

After all of the pregame festivities were finished, the match begun and Man Utd sprinted out of the gate as they have done in most of their matches this season, and nearly scored on a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick in the second minute, but keeper Victor Valdes was equal to the challenge and was able to stop it.

After several more United chances, Barcelona got the ball into the United zone as Iniesta rushed towards the goal, and passed the ball off to Samuel Eto'o, who then collapsed onto the net and shot the ball off of Edwin Van de Sar and into the back of the net which shocked Man Utd, and gave Barcelona a 1-0 lead in the tenth minute.

After this goal, Barcelona completely dominated the rest of the first half as they prevented United from starting any attack, and Park Ji-Sung, Ryan Giggs and Anderson all appeared to disappear for United, which made a comeback even less likely.

However, Barcelon continued to attack, but the United defense came to the rescue multiple times as they denied Barcelona from getting another goal.

As the second half begun, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson substituted Anderson for Carlos Tevez to try to inspire the offense, and for the first five minutes, it appeared to be working but Barcelona came back and after Iniesta was fouled just outside of the penalty box in the 62nd minute. Afterwards, Xavi had a chance to give Barcelona a 2-0 lead, but his shot hit the outside of the post on his right, keeping the match 1-0 and allowing Man Utd to still have a chance in the match.

But the chance of repeating as European champions vanished for Man Utd in the 70th minute as Xavi nailed a cross that found the head of Lionel Messi as the 21-year-old Argentinian international superstar scored his 38th goal of the season and gave Barcelona a cushion as they now held a 2-0 lead.

For the last 20 minutes, Man Utd couldn't regain possession against Barcelona and with the final whistle in stoppage time, Barcelona won their second Champions League final in the last four seasons and finally accomplished their dream of a treble.

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