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Barca stars shine in qualifiers

Barcelona had nine players on International duty last weekend and apart from Sergi Busquets, who was an unused substitute for Spain, all featured for their respective countries.

Pique and  Xavi were key players in Spain’s 1-0 victory over Turkey with Pique scoring the only goal of the game in the 60th minute, scoring from close range after Xavi’s free kick from the right had ricocheted back across goal off Sergio Ramos. Thierry Henry played the full 90 minutes in France’s 1-0 victory in Lithuania.

In the third classification stage in Africa, Seydou Keita played for the full match in Mali’s 1-1 draw with Sudan as did Samuel Eto’o in Cameroon’s 1-0 defeat by Togo.

In South America, Daniel Alves came off the bench in the 24th minute for Brazil in their 1-1 draw with Ecuador. Martin Caceres also featured in Uruguay’s shock 2-0 victory against group leaders Paraguay. The undoubted star of the weekend’s matches was of course Lionel Messi, who in Diego Maradona’s first competitive game in charge was handed the legendary number 10 shirt and showed no sign of nerves in the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires. Messi was outstanding and played the full 90 minutes, scored the opening goal in the 25th minute and set up the second for Tévez. Messi almost got a second late on with a magnificent dribble that ended with the ball brushing the post.  Later Maradona said “If that had gone in, we should have all left the stadium, paid for our tickets again and come back in,” clearly proud of his heir’s performance.



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