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26.07.2007 23:59

New signings make their debuts

Anna Segura / Roger Bogunyà

New signings Abidal, Henry and Touré Yaya were all handed their Barça debuts by Frank Rijkaard in Thursday night’s friendly against Dundee United.

Henry scored the winning goal, Touré Yaya blocked every ball that came near the Barça penalty box and Abidal made himself the master of the left flank. That’s the summary of the debut of Barça’s three new signings in tonight’s match.

Henry opens his account

Thierry Henry came on in the second half and almost scored with his first touch of the ball. The French striker lined up alongside young starlets Bojan and Giovani and during the 45 minutes he was on the pitch constantly changed his position.

However, Henry created most danger down the centre, where he took on the powerful central defenders of Dundee United and created a number of half chances.

Finally, in the 90th minute, Giovani dos Santos was fouled inside the left-hand side of the penalty box. Thierry Henry sent his spot kick down the centre, the keeper blocked but Henry took the rebound well to male it 0-1. Debut and goal for the Frenchman.

Touré Yaya in the starting line-up

Ivory Coast international Touré Yaya was the only new face to make it into the starting line-up. He was ever present in the centre of midfield together with Xavi and Iniesta and did a good job of breaking up the opposing attacks.

He also made a number of forays in attack and demonstrated his technical ability.

Abidal controls left flank

Abidal also came on in the second half and immediately demonstrated why he has been recruited. He was unbeatable on the left of the Barça defence and prevented the Dundee United players from making a single penetration while at the same time getting up into attack on a number of occasions. He managed several good crosses, none of which were taken advantage of.
New signings make their debuts
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Frank Rijkaard gave his opinion on the three debutants. He was full of praise for Touré Yaya: “He had a great match especially considering how little we’ve trained, and he adapted very well to our playing system”.

Turning to Abidal, Rijkaard told reporters: “He did a good job on the flank. It’s promising because he’s very strong, fast and can only improve”.

Finally, referring to Henry, Rijkaard explained: “He moved well, intelligently, and gave extra depth to our game. He hadn’t played for some time. At the beginning he had doubts but he was convinced that he wanted to take part with the team”. Finally, Henry’s decision to play was instrumental in giving Barça the victory.

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