Piqué after missing his goal-scoring chance / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Catalonia, 0 Tunisia, 0
Catalonia: Valdés (Casilla, min 51), Juste (Montoya, min 45), Piqué (Raúl Rodríguez, min 45), Fontàs, Dídac (Muniesa, min 45), Busquets (Amat, min 45), Xavi (Sergi Roberto ,min 45), Cesc (Verdú, min 45), Coro (Cuenca, min 45), Sergio García (Álvaro Vázquez, min 45) and Bojan (Puigdollers, min 73)
Tunisia: Mathlouthi, Benyahia (Boussaidi, min 74), Chammam, Ifa, Abdennoun, Korbi (Baratli, min 73), Traoni, Darrafi (Chikhaoui, min 57), Chermití, Misakui and Dahaouahi
Referee: Álvarez Izquierdo
The friendly between Catalonia and Tunisia ended in a goalless draw. At Montjuic, in front of 36,545 supporters, the side managed by Johan Cruyff deserved better against the Tunisian national team, who is in the middle of finalizing preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations that will take place in January. 10 FC Barcelona players played in tonight’s game –six featured in the starting XI, and four came off the bench– only Fontas played the full 90 minutes. It’s worth mentioning that Carles Puyol, who had been named to the Catalan side, didn’t play due to an injury to the adductor in his left leg.
Before the match, the ex-Barça player Roger Garcia received a warm and special homage: he’s the footballer that has played the most games for Catalonia (12).
Best chances for Bojan and Piqué
The Tunisians came out swinging and surprised the Catalan side at the start. The visitors created various goal-scoring chances but Valdés did well to save each one. With six Barça players on the pitch, Johan Cryuff’s side slowing wrestled control of the game away from the Tunisians. However, Catalonia was having trouble creating chances on Mathlouthi’s goal. The best chances for the Catalans in the first half fell to Bojan, who’s shot hit the woodwork on 11 minutes, and for Piqué, who couldn’t connect well with the ball when he was in the six-yard box.
At the other end, Tunisia, who had started strong, was only able to create one more chance before the break. The referee called a hand ball on Valdés outside of the area (the keeper was not booked). The draw at the break was a fair result for both sides.
Eight substitutions at the half
In the second half, Johan Cryuff subbed in eight new players. The Barça players Piqué, Busquets, Xavi and Cesc left the pitch for Montoya, Muniesa, Sergi Roberto and Cuenca. With the substitutions, Fontas changed his position form full back to central defensive midfielder. On 51 minutes, the keepers were also changed: Valdés for Casilla. With nine new players on the pitch –the only remaining starters were Fontas and Bojan– Catalonia created its best chances and enjoyed 80% of ball possession. Bojan, once again, came close to scoring, and Sergi Roberto and Cuenca were simply brilliant. The winning goal, however, never came.