0-1 Saviola (min. 17)
0-2 Bojan (min. 26)
0-3 Eto'o (min. 77)
0-4 Eto'o (min. 84)
Barça stamped their authority on tonight’s friendly in Cairo against African champions Al-Ahly, winning 4-0 and presenting an excellent image of themselves.
There was an incredible atmosphere in the Egyptian capital to welcome the Spanish and European
champions on occasion of the local club’s centenary celebrations. Playing in front of a
capacity crowd, it was Al-Ahly who set the early pace, but Barça were able contain that early
pressure in relative comfort.
Playing with an unfamiliar starting line-up, it naturally took some time for Barça to gel. Frank Rijkaard blooded reserve team player Olmo in the centre of defence, while Gudjohnsen and Ezquerro were given the chance to start up front, and young Bojan played out on the left. Barcelona’s first warning shot was fired in the 12th minute when Rafa Márquez broke free into the Egyptian area, but his shot was efficiently dealt with by the local keeper.
Saviola opens the account
Little by little, Rijkaard’s side found their rhythm, and from there on there it was only going to matter of time before the first goal came. After 17 minutes, Iniesta delivered a corner from the left, which Márquez flicked on from the near post for Saviola to nod home in trademark fashion. In a similar move just a few minutes later, the Argentinian had the chance to add a second, but this time his effort was sent narrowly over the bar.
Goalscoring debut for Bojan
The Egyptians were under constant pressure, and it was Saviola who was causing all the danger. Driving into the Al-Ahly area, he was able to slip a delightful pass through to Bojan to finish in impeccable style. And so it was that, at the tender age of 16, Bojan was able to celebrate his first ever goal playing for the first team. Al-Ahly were powerless to react, and it was not until the 35th minute, when Valdés intervened stylishly in a one-on-one with Moteab, that there was any sign of reaction from the home side.
After the break, FC Barcelona came out with a completely different eleven, with Rijkaard bringing on Messi, Eto'o, Ronaldinho, Xavi, Thuram, Giovanni, Deco, Gio, Puyol, Oleguer and Jorquera. But Barça continued to clearly dominate the proceedings in every department, with Samuel Eto'o scoring the third goal of the night in the 77th minute. The Cameroonian rounded off a fine performance to make it 4-0 with a goal just seconds before the final whistle.
Barça has long been a popular team in Egypt. Local journalists told us that the main interest dates back to the time of Johan Cruyff. Cruyff, Maradona and Romario were the reference points for these long-distance fans. The recent successes of the Barça team led by Frank Rijkaard, Ronaldinho, Eto'o and Messi, among others, has rekindled the huge local interest in our Club.
Barça fly off to Egypt on Monday for a friendly against the country’s most famous team and current African Champions, Al-Ahly. The match, which is to celebrate the club’s centenary, is completely sold out.
Frank Rijkaard’s men go to Cairo on Monday to take on Al Ahly, a club with more than 50
million followers, which took part together with Barça in the last World Club Champions in Japan.
Al Ahly celebrates its centenary this Tuesday and has invited the reigning European Champion to mark the occasion. The match is scheduled to kick off at 9.30 pm local time.
After training on Monday, the squad will take a specially chartered plane to Cairo where they are due to land at about 8.30 pm. Half an hour later, Frank Rijkaard and Club captain Carles Puyol will give a press conference for local reporters. There will also be an official dinner for directors of both clubs in the Hotel Marriott. The Barça party will be led by vice-president Alfons Godall, directors Joan Boix and Albert Perrín, and director of football Txiki Begiristain.
On Monday morning, the Barça party will attend a reception at the Spanish embassy where they will be received by the ambassador Antonio López Martínez. At 12 noon, the Arabic version of the Club website will be officially unveiled.
Children to meet the players
At 12.45, FC Barcelona will visit the training grounds of the FCB Football School in Cairo. Some 250 children will get the chance to meet and be photographed with Frank Rijkaard and some of the players in the hotel where the team is staying.
The match in the Cairo International Stadium
The main event of the day – the match between the current European and African champions – will kick off At 9.30 pm in the Cairo International Stadium. All 74,000 tickets have already been sold for what is the city’s biggest stadium. The team with the biggest following in Egypt against the most widely admired team outside of Egypt.
The team is due back in Barcelona at about two o’clock on Thursday afternoon.