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Xavi playing for Catalonia - / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Carles Puyol / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

The Cornellà-El Prat stadium hosted the Catalan national team’s traditional holiday match this year. The match against Nigeria, Johan Cruyff’s final match at the helm of the Catalan national team, ended in a one-all draw. Nine Blaugrana featured for Catalonia in the Dutchman’s farewell game. 27,234 spectators attended the match.

Possession and goal for Catalonia

The Catalan national team, with Piqué, Puyol, Bartra and Xavi in the starting line-up, dominated the first half. It didn’t take long for Cruyff’s men to find the back of the net as the referee pointed to the penalty spot on three minutes after a Nigerian defender handled the ball in the area. Sergio González, who has donned the Catalan strip more than any other footballer, stepped up and netted for the home team. Shortly there after, Sergio was subbed off for Carles Puyol.

With the 1-0 in favour, the Catalan national team continued to control the match. Nigeria’s first real goalscoring chance came after 20 minutes, but it was stopped short by an onrushing Marc Bartra. Minutes later, the FC Barcelona defender, who started this evening out wide, won the end line and crossed the ball. It could have been Catalonia’s second but no strikers were able to connect with the Blaugrana’s cross.

The stadium fell silent on 42 minutes when Puyol, after receiving an elbow to his eye, fell to the ground. The Barça defender was subbed off for his club teammate Martín Montoya.

Six Blaugrana on the pitch

Catalonia started off the second half with six FC Barcelona players on the pitch. Without Xavi, Piqué and Puyol, who were brought off at the break, it was time for Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and Tello to take center stage. The four players were joined by Bartra and Montoya, who had already played a portion of the first half. On 35 minutes Montoya was denied by the Nigerian goalkeeper. The visiting team, more active in the second half, scored the equaliser - through Bright (min. 54)- after a fantastic counter attack .

Cruyff’s men looked for the match-winning goal and it almost came on 72 minutes when Tello found Jonathan Soriano in the box. Nigeria also created chances to score, especially on the counter. On 80 minutes, Uche’s shot was brilliantly saved by Codina. With 30 seconds to go before the 90 minutes were up, Tello had a fantastic chance to score the winner but his shot went wide.

MATCH FACTS

Catalonia, 1
Nigeria, 1

Catalonia: Casilla, Piqué, V.Sánchez, Puyol, Xavi, S.García, S.González (A.Vázquez, 12’), Bojan, Verdú, Bartra and Capdevila.  A.Vázquez (12’), Montoya (45’), Codina (46’), Amat (46’), Alba (46’), Sergio (46’), Sergio Tejera (46’), Sergi Roberto (46’), Tello (46’), Soriano (46’), Piti (46’).

Nigeria: Chigozie, Godfrey, Francis, Ogude, Solomon, Azubuike, Brown, Bright, Ejike, Ogenyi and Sunday. Musa (52’), Kenneth (56’), Uche (60’), Emmanuel (60’), Raheem (66').

Goals: 1-0, Sergio González (3’, pen), 1-1 Bright (54’).

Referee: Xavier Estrada Fernández.

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