The Reds go marching on. On to Moscow, that is. Manchester United ensured the first ever all-English European Cup final with an efficent 1-0 win over Barcelona at Old Trafford to win the semifinal after a scorless draw last week in Spain.
Paul Scholes brillant strike following a Barca giveaway in the 14th minute was all the home team needed. Cristiano Ronaldo led a rush, but lost the ball to Xavi, whose sloppy clearing pass came straight to Scholes. The veteran midfielder made no mistake, hitting the top right corner from 30 yards out.
For the rest of the night, Barcelona had plenty of possession, but few quality scoring chances- only three shots on goal despite a 62-38% advantage in posession. Manchester United defended bravely in the final minutes to preserve the 1-0 victory.
The win must be especially sweet for Scholes, who was suspended for Manchester's last Champions League Final appearance in 1999. Meanwhile, the loss likely means the end of the road for Milli Vanilli lead singer/Barcelona head coach Frank Rijkaard. In the two seasons since their 2006 Champions League title, Barcelona has failed to capture any trophies, and trophies are the name of the game when you're one of Europe's elite teams.
It's hard to believe that for a squad with Manchester United's tradition and pedigree, this will only be their third European Cup Final. If it's anything like their matches in 1968 and 1999, we'll be in for a classic. Tomorrow we'll know their English opponents.