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The Omens Ahead Of Barcelona v United

Are you superstitious? I'm not, I know that spitting over my shoulder eastwards three times every day protect me from any magical harm. But now the nerves are taking me over and I'm left scrambling for good omens ahead of the final versus Barcelona.

The first that occurred to me is the all-white kit. After all, we beat them in Rotterdam in 1991 in white, winning Sir Alex's first ever European trophy at United. That was Mark Hughes' night - could this one belong to Wayne Rooney?

Then there is the last visit to Stadio Olimpico when we wore white shirts - and won 2-0 against a team known for their lovely passing game. The starting line-up that night was almost the same that will take the field tonight, only that Scholes played instead of Giggs and Brown started instead of O'Shea.

In 1986, Barcelona lost the European Cup final. In 1992, they won it. In 1994, they lost it again. In 2006, they won it again. Guess what's coming now?

United won every single European final they ever played in.

Last time we went into the final missing two central midfielders we won in dramatic fashion - in the Nou Camp, home of Barcelona. Keane and Scholes were absent then, Fletcher and Hargreaves will miss the game now.

Often forgotten is the fact that in 1999 Bayern were also playing for a Treble, having won the Bundesliga and the DFB Cup. This year Barcelona find themselves in a similar position after winning La Liga and Copa del Rey.

In 1999 our number seven, a winger, played through the middle, in central midfield. In 2009, our number seven, essentially a winger, will play centre forward. (Probably.)

In 1999 the second leg of the semi-final brought a glorious Manchester United performance, at Turin, beating Juventus 3-2. This season we produced one of our best displays of the season at the Emirates at the same stage of the competition, beating Arsenal 3-1.

Barcelona spent all the time between their semi-final win over Chelsea and the final talking up themselves as the true guardians of the beautiful game. Messi claimed they deserve the trophy for the football they played all season. Last time they did that, in 1994 (when Johan Cruyff declared they should win for the good of football), they were resoundingly thrashed by a supposedly defensive team, AC Milan.

The last holders who reached the final the next season lost not least because of a relatively unknown youth product of the opposition (Lars Ricken, scorer of a stunning goal against Juventus in 1997). So we must watch out for Bojan Krkic...

Last time a Swiss referee was in charge of the game the Spanish side won. It was in 2002: Urs Meier was officiating when Real Madrid beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1. Dimitar Berbatov played in that game as a substitute, as he's likely to do tonight.

Five Champions League finals were settled on penalties but never two in a row. So we're likely to have a winner in 90 or at most 120 minutes.

And that's it, these occurred to me. If you know anything better, don't hesitate to tell us.




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday May 27 2009

Time: 12:55PM

Your Comments

The Champions League (under this name) has never been retained. Guess who won it last time... ;)
Aamir
gerard piquet should have been sent off when he took down ronaldo (denying a clear goal scorring oportunity), and van der saar could, and should have done better with both goals. unlucky guys.
pompeycarpet
What time's the parade?
fifthcolumnblue
Congrats Barca but they don't deserve it..they don't deserve the chance to be in the final..but United was just lame..Diva diver laughed at Puyol's dive?! What a joke..Everyone can laugh but you diva diver no.7
Lee.F
berbratoss what a waste 30mil on the bench
123spurs
fifthcolumnblue: I think if you book early enough - you might be able to get cheap tickets to Barcelona for the parade on Easyjet (~40 quid return with taxes). Parade is on Saturday, get there early to get a good spot, don't forget they're an hour ahead.
Englishman-in-NY
ManUtd = unlucky? Barca = didn't deserve it ? What planet are you on? Blown away and chasing shadows. Pep got it spot on. The early goal killed it, just like your early goal vs Arsenal killed the tie in the previous round. Karma giveth, and Karma taketh away..
Englishman-in-NY
...And it still hasn't been retained. :)
Aamir
Once the rawness is gone, most united fans will agree that we let ourselves down and barcelona are deserved winners. We got beaten by a team that are better than us. Fergie got his tactics wrong and we never really had a chance in midfield, but at least we didnt just sit back, defend and then lose anyway, that would have been worse. We tried and failed (miserably), but we'll be back stronger next season!
tuscan3000
Englishman-in-NY - have to agree. similarities with arsenal game.... early on losing side terrific look like they could win, then other team get a goal, against the run of play at this point, and it just snowballs from there. tuscan3000, can't disagree. rooney, carrick et al will be back next season - this will be hard, but make them stronger (rooney looked like he was about to cry so much) and hopefully all the sweeter if they get there again. I'll enjoy the FA cup with no pressure on saturday, then it's England... it's not so bad.
Man utd champions
 

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