FC Barcelona - INAC Kobe / PHOTO: ÁLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

FC Barcelona and INAC Kobe Leonessa met in a friendly in the Miniestadi sponsored by Seiko, and played in memory of the victims of the tsunami that hit Japan last March. It was a great encounter, with all eyes on Homare Sawa, winner of the recent Ballon d'Or for women, but it was also a great advertisement for the women's game in general, with both teams opting for attacking formats.

This historic game against a club from World Cup winning Japan was watched by the FCB president Sandro Rosell, who also made a point of visiting the girls in their dressing room to congratulate them on the wonderful season they are having, in which they are currently top of the league. Jordi Mestre, Joan Bladé, Pilar Guinovart and Toni Freixa were also in attendance.

First half goals

Xavi Llorens' side was keen to go straight at INAC Kobe, who are still preparing for the forthcoming season. Barça could have scored in the 13th minute when Olga struck from the edge of the area, but two minutes later it was the visitors who took the lead with their first real chance. Minamiyama broke the offside trap to collect a Ji So-Yun assist and stick the ball past Sarasola. The Barça players protested handball, but to no avail.

The INAC goal took some of the wind out of the Catalans against one of the best teams in the world, but in the 38th minute Carol outwitted FIFA World Player Homare Sawa in a brilliant move that she will surely never forget. But the best was yet to come when Olga García latched onto a dead ball in the six-yard box following a free kick and thumped it cleanly into the back of the net.

More open second half

Xavi Llorens, who was aware that there's a big match against Rayo Vallecano this weekend, rotated his players for the second half. The Japanese also made changes, with Homare Sawa among the players substituted after a first half in which we got to see very little of her brilliance. But INAC Kobe have other top quality resources, including Ji So-Yun, whose through balls were a constant menace, but none of which produced goals thanks to some classy interventions by goalkeeper Ràfols. Barça also enjoyed chances of their own, with Melani and Marta particularly active in the second half.

But there was to be no further score and it finished all square between Barça and INAC Kobe in a game in which both sides showed that they are able to play the way football should be played, with first-touch passes and offensive play from start to finish.

Match stats

FC Barcelona, 1
INAC Kobe Leonessa, 1

FC Barcelona: Sarasola, Lau, Melani, Ana, Leila, Flor, Karol, Montse, Miriam, Sonia, Olga.

INAC Kobe: Kaihori, Kai, Tanaka,Kinga, Minamiyama, Ji So-Yun, Sawa, Kawasumi, Takase, Ohno, Nakajima

Goals: 0-1, Minamiyama (15'); 1-1, Olga (44')