Barcelona put on five-star performance at Brandywell
PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY/ Derry 0 Barcelona 5: A capacity crowd of 10,000 watched Catalan giants Barcelona conclude their three-match tour of Britain and Ireland with a comprehensive victory over Derry last night.
And the La Liga aristocrats put on a show of scintillating soccer, giving the Brandywell club the perfect warm-up for tomorrow night's UEFA Cup tie in Cyprus against APOEL Nicosia.
With Barcelona fielding a full-strength panel - except for the injured Luis Enrique, who was in the dugout - it didn't take them long to stamp their authority on the proceedings with the opening goal arriving after three minutes.
A corner from David Sanchez saw Rafael Marquez rise unchallenged to head home from close range.
Derry also had their chances, with the highly impressive Peter Hutton playing like a man possessed. But he squandered two glorious first-half chances which would have seen his name entered in the local history books.
However, in the 36th minute Barcelona deservedly doubled their lead from another set-piece. Another in-swinging corner from Sanchez saw Barcelona centre-half Patrick Andersson stoop low to head home from six yards.
Following the change of ends, it was Derry who threatened first and again it was the pace and incisive running of Hutton which fashioned the chance.
Having broken on the left, Hutton actually played the ball behind the advancing Ciaran Martyn but it fell perfectly for Gary Beckett who failed to get his shot on target in the 52nd minute.
The entrance of the brilliant Brazilian Ronaldinho was greeted with rapturous applause, and his swerving free-kick beat Bennett but Holt was well placed on the line to head clear. But the visitors added a third when Marc Overmars sent a low cross into the box and, with the Derry defence failing to clear, substitute Gerard Lopez tucked the ball home from close range.
And in the 62nd minute Barcelona made it 4-0 when Ronaldinho played the perfect ball through to Saviola and, with Bennett advancing, the Argentinian international deftly chipped the ball over the goalkeeper from 16 yards.
Ronaldinho finally made his mark in the 76th minute to end the rout when he burst through to round substitute goalkeeper, Mark Speers - a goal which was greeted with prolonged applause.
DERRY CITY: Bennett, McCallion, Hargan, Hutton, McLaughlin, Doherty, McChrystal, Beckett, Coyle, Martyn, Holt. Subs: Moran, McGlynn, Hedderman, Friars, Molineaux, Fimms, Deery, Gill, Aldridge (all used).
BARCELONA: Valdez, Riezger, Andersson, Marquez, Lopez, Ros, Quaresma, Inesta, Saviola, Sanchez, Overmars. Subs: Puyol, Recber, Cocu, Ronaldinho, Lopez, Kluivert (all used), Hernandez (not used).
Referee: A Kelly (Cork)