Barcelona brushed aside Al Ahly this afternoon in the Wembley Cup, running out comfortable 4-1 winners in what was a decent encounter.
Goals from Bojan, Rueda, Jeffren and Pedro gave a youthful Blaugrana side the win over the somewhat naive Egyptian side, who were guilty of some amateurish defending at times, and made life easy for the Treble winners, who made the most of the run out.
Barcelona began the match with purpose, winning five corners in the opening five minutes and pushing the Egyptian side deep into their own territory. Guardiola’s young guns have the level of precision and skill you would expect, and Ruben Rochina gave Al Ahly’s backline a torrid time in the opening 45 minutes.
It was no surprise when the Blaugrana opened the scoring, and it was Bojan who sweetly found the net. Rochina burst through the centre of the pitch, skipping past challenges before slipping the ball to the 18-year old. After cutting back inside, Bojan then turned back and drilled an expertly placed shot into the corner of the net, although goalkeeper Abdel Hamed Hassan perhaps should have calculated his angles slightly better.
But to their credit Al Ahly were not disheartened and came into the match after falling behind. Star striker Mohammed Abou-Treka could only direct his header into the arms of Jorquera, but soon after Hany El Agazy levelled the match.
Agazy drifted clean through on the right hand side, and Jorquera advanced outside of his area, allowing the 24-year old striker to dance around him and slot the ball into the empty net. Again the goalkeepers positioning was more than questionable, but Al Ahly had managed the equaliser that was probably deserved on the balance of play.
However, just before half-time, normal service was resumed for the European Champions, and it was a superb strike that restored the lead.
Jose Maria Rueda jinked inside then onto his right foot, and unleashed a powerful drive into Hassan’s top left corner, leaving the stopper with little chance of keeping it out, and the advantage was restored.
Coach Guardiola shuffled his entire line-up at half-time, and notably Lionel Messi saw his first minutes of the tournament. The flow of pressure continued towards the Al Ahly goal, and Barcelona were equally clinical on the second half, putting the game beyond their opponents.
Goalkeeper Hassan, who had looked susceptible at Bojan’s opening goal, was again at fault as Pedro fired a low across goal which the 33-year old let slip through his hands. The ball bobbled to the back post, and Jeffren Suarez gleefully rolled the ball into the net to give the Spanish giants breathing space.
Hassan appeared to take a severe blow to the head as a result of clash with Eidur Gudjohnsen that led to the goal, and he had to be carried from the field in some distress, to be replaced by Abel Abdel Moneim.
The substitute could not keep Barca at bay either, however. Pedro made it four on 67 minutes, comfortably sliding the ball home from a tight angle to put Barcelona completely out of sight.
The margin of victory may be considered harsh on Al Ahly, who had chances of their own, and sub keeper Victor Valdes had to look spritely to make two excellent saves to stop the Egyptians from pulling a goal back.
But in the end the class of the Catalan squad proved too great for the Asian side, who have undergone a significant learning curve in this tournament.
Paul Macdonald, Goal.com