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Champions League final, Barcelona-Arsenal 2-1,

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The Full Story

17.05.2006: It was a final in which a 10 men Arsenal team managed to opened the score. It the end, Barcelona managed to win the game with 2-1, having Larsson at the helm.


It was a Champions League final played between a powerful Barcelona squad and a surprisingly Arsenal team that managed to reach the final. For us, the Barca fans, the real Catalonians, it was the Barca squad that had Ronaldinho as a key player and Messi was still a promising young player. Arsenal looked like a team composed of kindergartners and, in my opinion, it is a wonder how this team reached the final with such a young squad.

The match had started and the viewers all around the world expected a game in which Barca will dominate the play. Shortly after the game started, the Arsenal goalie is send off after he fouled Samuel Eto’o. Lehmann, despite his age, made a childish mistake and he puts his team in a big disadvantage since the start. The Catalonians could not have been more happy at that moment. I smiled and I thought that the experienced Barca will crush the teenagers for Arsenal, after all, they are a man short. There is no way that Arsenal will pose a threat from now on.

Shockingly, Arsenal was the team that opened the score! Barca’s fans were stunned when Arsenal went ahead. It was Sol Campbell that scored with a thumping header, after a well taken free kick. I watched the goal in dismay. Someone should have kept a better marking to that huge fellow. How can you let a 1.98 meters guy that free in your own box? That’s unbelievable, in just ten men, the Gunners kindergarten managed to open the score. After that, Arsenal hung up desperately to the result and they managed to remain ahead when the first half ended.

Until the last quarter of the game, Barca tried to score, Henry missed some scoring opportunities for Arsenal, while Ronaldinho did not do much to help Barca score at least one goal. Then, after an inspired decision from Barca manager, Larsson entered the pitch as a substitute. Shortly after, Larsson broke Arsenal’s defense, delivering an extraordinary left pass into the path of Samuel Eto’o, who took a neat finish past Almunia, scoring with a strike near post. Good composure from the lad! What an important goal it was!

In the next minutes, the substitute Beletti gave Barca the lead with only ten minutes to go.  He was picked out by the same Larsson and managed to get it into the net. That Larsson, let me tell you, should definitely be the man of the final, he brought new energy for Barca having the required  experience to maintain his composure in front of the post.

Barcelona managed to score twice in the last quarter of an hour. That was a killer blow from which Arsenal never looked likely to recover. The match ended and Barca won the big trophy. Barcelona was the queen of Europe. It was Henrick Larsson last Champions League game for Barca and his last career final. The Barcelona fans want to thank you for the trophy and want to thank you for the years spent at the club.

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