Cruyff's coaching return brings win over Argentina

BY foxsports • December 22, 2009

Johan Cruyff's return to coaching was a success as the Dutchman led Catalonia to a 4-2 victory over World Cup-bound Argentina on Tuesday.

Sergio Garcia, Bojan Krkic, Sergio Gonzalez and Moises Hurtado all scored to lead Cruyff to victory 13 years after his last appearance on the touchline when he coached Barcelona.

Assistant Hector Enrique led Argentina with coach Diego Maradona unavailable due to a FIFA ban. Angel di Maria and Javier Pastore scored for the visitors at Camp Nou, where the 53,000 spectators included Maradona, who was forced to buy a ticket and watch from the stands.

Argentina was without FIFA Player of the Year Lionel Messi and injured striker Sergio Aguero. Enrique opted to use mostly European-based players with Gonzalo Higuain, Di Maria and Martin Demichelis among the starters. Catalonia fielded a lineup heavy on Barcelona players including Xavi Hernandez, Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique.

Garcia headed Catalonia into a deserved lead just before halftime, the Real Betis striker receiving from Joan Verdu to beat Diego Pozo.

Barcelona striker Krkic stretched out the hosts in the 56th before Argentina got on the board in the 63rd when Pastore beat goalkeeper Victor Valdes with a long-range free kick.

Nicolas Pareja fouled Ferran Corominas inside the area for Gonzalez to step up and score Catalonia's third, then Di Maria, Argentina's standout player, pulled the visitors back to within one in the 72nd by scoring from Ezequiel Lavezzi's pass.

Hurtado clinched the victory with a goal three minutes later.

Cruyff, who led Barcelona from 1988-96 after several seasons at Ajax, works as an adviser to Barcelona, whose players returned only on Tuesday from their Club World Cup win three days ago in Abu Dhabi.

Catalunya, like other Spanish regions such as the Basque Country, competes in friendlies against international teams but isn't permitted to play in official competitions.

Maradona was relegated to the stands after being banned for two months for an expletive-filled rant at a news conference during World Cup qualifying in October.

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