First Division - Day 1

Murcia 3 - Barcelona 5

Murcia: Alberto 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.
Barcelona: Pinto; Oleguer, Thuram (Fali 71'), Puyol, Abidal; Gudjohnsen (Rueda 75'), Xavi, Giovani; Messi, Eto'o, Henry (Bojan 76'). 4-3-3.

Team changes: Murcia: Alberto García, Marañon, for Carini, Goitom / Barça: Oleguer, Gudjohnsen, Xavi, Giovani for Zambrotta, Touré Yaya, Edmilson, Deco.

1-0. 17. Ochoa. Got above defence on near post to head corner across Pinto.
1-1. 23. Eto'o. Turned shot past Alberto after Henry crossed in from wing.
1-2. 26. Henry. Ran ball into net after heading long pass over keeper.
1-3. 33. Giovani. Scored into empty net after Eto'o passed across.
1-4. 52. Giovani. Took return pass from Messi and chipped shot over keeper.
1-5. 66. Giovani. Fired shot wide of Alberto after Messi played on Henry cross.
2-5. 81. Iván Alonso (penalty). After Puyol fouled Mejía inside area.
3-5. 85. Abel. Curled free kick over defensive wall wide of Pinto.

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.