|First Division - Day 1|
Murcia 3 - Barcelona 5
García; De Coz, Pignol, Ochoa, Peña; Mejía,
Marañón (Richi 54'); De Lucas (Abel 77'), Iñigo (Rosinei
54'), Dani Aquino; Iván Alonso. 4-2-3-1.
Team changes: Murcia: Alberto García, Marañon, for Carini, Goitom / Barça: Oleguer, Gudjohnsen, Xavi, Giovani for Zambrotta, Touré Yaya, Edmilson, Deco.
Murcia and Barcelona shared eight goals in the curtain raiser for Spain's "Super Sunday". With nothing at stake, the match was brought forward to Saturday evening, and the lack of tension allowed both sides to play entertaining football. The two coaches used the occasion to give a run out to some of their less used players, Frank Rijkaard drafting youngsters Fali and Rueda on to the bench and Javier Clemente bringing in B team keeper Alberto.
The locals had several chances early on, in particular a header from Iván Alonso against the post. Ochoa headed a De Lucas corner past Pinto to open the scoring, and for a few minutes it looked as if they would extend their lead. But Henry set up Eto'o to equalise and then scored himself to over turn the scoreline, and Giovani added a third before the break after selfless play by Eto'o, the first goal he has scored in the league all season.
Once he got off the mark though Giovani was a new man, and he completed his hat-trick with two well taken goals after the restart. But the home side didn't want to disappoint their fans in their last match before returning to the drudgery of the second division, and they pegged two back late on, Iván Alonso converting a penalty after Puyol fouled Mejía, and Abel curling home a free kick. An entertaining finish to Frank Rijkaard's reign at the Nou Camp, and something for the home fans to remember in the dark days to come.