Barcelona 2, Arsenal 1 (full time)
Sweden’s Henrik Larsson (above) set up Eto’o and Juliano Belletti for a pair of late goals in a match so exciting, even the blatherings of Marcelo Balboa could be safely ignored. Writes the Times’ Matt Hughes,
After playing some breathtaking football in patches, Barcelona were worthy champions, but it was impossible not to feel sympathy for Arsenal, who battled bravely with ten men for more than 70 minutes after Jens Lehmann™s sending-off.
The Guardian’s Kevin McCarra accurately points out that Sol Campbell’s first half goal was clearly set up by some bad acting on the part of Emmanuel EbouÃ©.
Stymied by Rafael Marquez, Arsenal’s Thierry Henry vented afterwards, as quoted by the BBC :
“I was kicked all over the place. Carles Puyol and Rafael Marquez should have got yellow cards,” he said.
“To defend against me with a yellow card – it’s not the same game any more. I expected the referee to do his job. I don’t think he did.”
I’d call Frank Rjikard the Avery Johnson of European club football, except a) I don’t think he’s nearly as tightly wound and b) trying to determine the Greg Popovich of European club football is just way too terrifying a propostion.