UEFA Champions League Final 2011: 1-1, Halftime Report

What an incredible first half of football this has been at Wembley. The match has been one incident after another, and after a bevy of chances for Manchester United in the opening ten minutes as Park Ji-Sung dominated the game (Victor Valdes was astonishingly good in the early stages, preventing both Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney from going clean through on goal) Barcelona then opted to lock things down and looked as though they'd obliterate their English opponents.

Pedro made Sir Alex Ferguson's team pay for a poor spell with a brilliant sidefoot finish following a series of close chances, latching onto a Xavi Hernandez pass and clipping past Edwin van der Sar at the 40-year-old's near post. It looked as though Manchester United were in serious, serious trouble with Barcelona absolutely rampant, but Rooney took the game by the scruff of the neck, playing a one-two with Ryan Giggs (who may have been offside, looking at the replay) and obliterating the ball past Valdes and into the top corner, United scoring on only their second shot of the match. The goals came only seven minutes apart.

There were still ten minutes of football played after that Rooney goal, and it was mostly Barcelona (who ended the first half with 66% possession). They actually had a great chance to go ahead just before the interval, but David Villa just failed to find Lionel Messi, who has been excellent, with the Argentine rushing into the six-yard box after blowing past Michael Carrick. Referee Viktor Kassai blew the whistle shortly thereafter as soon as the clock hit 45:00, ending a wonderful first half of football at 1-1. Hopefully the second can match it in both quality and entertainment.

For news, opinion, and feature articles leading up to the UEFA Champions League final, bookmark this StoryStream and check it often. We’ll have new posts right here throughout the week, during the game, and after the game. For more on the entire world of football, check out SB Nation Soccer. Manchester United fans should head over to The Busby Babe, while Barcelona fans should check out Barca Blaugranes.

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