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Barcelona and Manchester United Play to 0-0 Draw

In the first leg of the Champions League semifinals Barcelona and Manchester United played to a 0-0 draw. Manchester United had a golden opportunity in the 3rd minute, but Cristiano Ronaldo missed a crucial penalty shot. Swiss referee Massimo Busacca called for the penalty after Ronaldo was fouled in the box, despite protests from the Barcelona players and fans. Ronaldo stepped up to take the kick and missed entirely, which would have given Man U a 1-0 lead and a precious away goal.

Barcelona controlled possession of the ball for most of the first half but could not find the back of the net despite several chances. It looked as if Ronaldo was fouled against in the box in the 30th minute, but no penalty was called. I watched the match and in real time it looked as if was not a foul. But upon replay it definitely looked as he was given a strong push off the ball and it should have been another penalty.

Barcelona had a couple of close free kicks in the first half but could not score.

The second half started out much like most of the first half, as Barcelona came out dictating the game with their offensive play. Messi, who is back from injury, had his shot blocked in the 47th minute and Man U goalie Edwin Van der Sar made a great save on Gianluca Zambrotta’s shot from long range tipping it over the post a few minutes later. After a few more chances Messi was replaced by Bojan Krkic in the 63rd minute.

United did not play offensive soccer and had very few attacks in the entire game. They seemed content to play back on defense and just wait for a counterattack. Mid way in the second half both clubs had one good scoring opportunity but both times the ball found the side of the net.

In the 77th minute Thierry Henry came into the game and only 6 minutes later sent a scorching shot on goal, where Van der Sar made a great save.

Overall Barcelona controlled the ball for most of the match and the offensive attacks from Man U were few and far between. That will change next week in England.

The game ended in a 0-0 draw and a disappointed Cristiano Ronaldo vowed he would score at Old Trafford when the clubs return to England for the second leg of the semifinals.

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