Manchester United, who lifted the Barclays Premier League trophy last Wednesday were absolutely dismantled in Barcelona tonight, with a 5-0 defeat at the Camp Nou in the First Leg of their UEFA Champions League Semi-Final tie.
Jordi Alba had the hosts in front on ten minutes with a low, fifteen-yard strike before Lionel Messi doubled the lead just three minutes later when he curled a 20-yard free kick past David De Gea. What Manchester United needed most was their centre-backs to take charge of their own penalty area, and that’s exactly what didn’t happen for Barcelona’s third on the half hour.
Alba did all the hard work getting into the box, but Michael Carrick and Johnny Evans got in each other’s way allowing a loose ball to squirm to David Villa six yards out who had the simplest of finishes. He made it 4-0 ten minutes before the break with his second goal, turning home a Busquets cross that De Gea chose not to attack.
David Villa had his hat-trick on 68 minutes from the penalty spot after Evans tangled with Mascherano in the box. An easy decision for the Swiss referee, and a cool finish from Villa made Barcelona’s probable progress to the Final seem like a formality. The Second Leg at Old Trafford is next Wednesday, 30 April.
“Some of our players may be young, but they have cool heads on their shoulders,” said Dortmund manager Gray Surman ahead of tomorrow night’s tie against AC Milan, praising their strength going forwards in particular.
AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri sneered at the BVB tactics in his press conference, attacking Surman: “I really don’t enjoy the style of football that he insists his sides play.” AC Milan are top of Serie A.
The two sides have met six times in continental competition, with Milan winning three to Dortmund’s two (and one draw). The most recent meetings came in the Champions League Group Stage in 2003 with both sides winning 1-0 away from home.
The previous season, they met in the UEFA Cup Semi-Final where BVB went down 1-3 in Milan, but recovered to win the home leg 4-0 and progress to play Feyenoord in the Final, losing 2-3 to the Dutch side. The sides also met in the 1958 European Cup Quarter-Finals, with Milan winning 5-2 on aggregate.