News Live Scores
Barcelona

Barcelona suffer Maradona Cup upset as Boca prevail on penalties in tribute match

19:42 GMT 14/12/2021
Dani Alves Barcelona
The Blaugrana welcomed Dani Alves back to the fold but ultimately ended up empty-handed in Saudi Arabia

Barcelona coach Xavi was frustrated in his first attempt to win a trophy at the club in his new position, as the Catalans lost out in Tuesday's Maradona Cup to Boca Juniors.

The two sides, both former clubs of Argentine great Diego Maradona, fought out an entertaining match at Riyadh's Mrsool Park in Saudi Arabia.

Barca took the lead in the second half, but could not hold their advantage and ultimately went down on penalties.

No cup for Xavi

Less than a week after suffering the disappointment of elimination from the Champions League and three days after being pegged back by Osasuna in La Liga, Xavi put out a mixed line-up of first-teamers and reserves to take on the Argentine giants.

Among his starting XI was Dani Alves, playing his first game after agreeing terms with Barca following departure from Sao Paulo.

The Blaugrana legend looked sharp throughout and played a big part in Barca's opener.

His cross was diverted into the path of youngster Ferran Jutgla, who steered a powerful shot past Boca goalkeeper Agustin Rossi five minutes after the half-time break.

Boca remained in the chase and went close to equalising through Sebastian Villa minutes later before finally equalising in the 77th minute through 19-year-old substitute Exequiel Zeballos.

In the resulting shoot-out Matheus Pereira saw his effort saved by Rossi and Guillem Jaime shot over the bar, while the Argentines netted all four of their penalties to seal a 4-2 victory.

A tribute to Diego

Maradona passed away in November 2020, prompting a wave of grief and tributes from across the footballing world.

Tuesday's match was the latest homage to the late star, bringing together Barca and Boca - for both of who Diego represented during his playing days - in a one-off clash in Saudi Arabia.

Maradona's ex-wife Claudia was in attendance at the Mrsool Park, as were his daughters Dalma and Giannina, while at half-time Ulises Bueno, the son of seminal late Argentine music legend Rodrigo, performed his father's anthem La mano de Dios (The Hand of God), dedicated to the 1986 World Cup winner.

Further reading