A cobbled-together Argentina side visited the Camp Nou for the Catalán national side’s annual pre-Christmas friendly on Tuesday evening, and were soundly beaten as the home crowd enjoyed jeering Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuaín. Lionel Messi didn’t play, according to Carlos Bilardo because his club, Barcelona, had requested that he shouldn’t. Unusual, since the home side fielded six Barça players in their starting lineup.
As Argentine manager Diego Maradona watched from the stands of the stadium he once – unhappily – called home, Sergio García scored the only goal of the first half a minute before the break to send the hosts in 1-0 up. In the second half, although the scoreline was only 3-2 to Catalonia, the problems in Argentina’s rearguard were harshly exposed. Bojan Krkic skipped through for a lovely solo goal before Sergio and Moisés Hurtado Pérez completed the rout. In between those, Javier Pastore scored on his debut – an absolute cracker – and Ángel Di María got Argentina’s second.
It was a highly experimental Argentine lineup which couldn’t by any stretch of the imagination be termed full strength, but all the same, Catalonia fielded Oleguer Presas in their defence, for heaven’s sake. Xavi ran the game far more effectively on his own than Fernando Gago and Mario Bolatti were capable of in tandem – so much for him needing Andrés Iniesta alongside him to shine. The real work begins in the new year, but from his place in the gods, Maradona will have a good view of just how much catching up his have got to do.
There aren’t any embeddable goal videos at the time of writing, but TN have got the goals from the match on their site. Just click here.
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