Barcelona were beaten 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Boca Juniors on Tuesday in a friendly match in Saudi Arabia to honor the first anniversary of the passing of Diego Maradona.
Ferran Jutgla fired Barcelona ahead with a great strike at the start of the second half but the Catalans were pegged back when Exequiel Zeballos equalized and sent the game into penalties.
Xavi unsurprisingly fielded a team of young and fringe players for the match. Clement Lenglet captained a side that included Riqui Puig, Alvaro Sanz, Ferran Jutgla and Alejandro Balde, while Dani Alves made his second debut for the club.
Barca had a few sights of goal in a fairly uneventful first half. Riqui Puig fired just wide after an excellent lofted pass from Eric Garcia and then forced goalkeeper Rossi into a save with another low effort.
Sergino Dest and Philippe Coutinho also fired off-target, while Dani Alves tried a cheeky free-kick on the edge of the area after Alejandro Balde had been fouled but couldn’t catch out Rossi.
Boca threatened on occasion and went close when Villa raced through after mistakes from Coutinho and Lenglet but couldn’t beat Neto in the Barcelona goal and ended up firing into the side-netting.
Xavi made a couple of changes at half-time. Ilias Akhomach came on for Yusuf Demir, while Oscar Mingueza replaced Clement Lenglet which meant that Dani Alves took over the captain’s armband.
Barca took the lead early in the second half. Dani Alves sent a ball into the box which eventually fell to Jutgla. The youngster had his back to goal but chested the ball down, turned and fired a brilliant finish into the top corner.
Things heated up briefly after the goal. Riqui Puig was felled by a late challenge but was able to continue, while Neto had to be alert to come off his line quickly to deny Boca after some sloppy play from Barca had gifted the Argentine side a chance.
Xavi made plenty of changes in the second half with Mika Marmol, Matheus Pereira, Arnau Comas and Guillem Jaime all enjoying some rare first-team game time in the second 45 minutes.
Barca did have chances with Ilias and Jutgla both going close but conceded with 15 minutes lef to play. Frank Fabra raced down the left and crossed for Exequiel Zeballos to make it 1-1.
All of which meant it was left to penalties to decide the winner. Boca were perfect with their spot-kicks but Matheus saved his effort saved and Jaime blazed over the bar to hand the Argentines victory.
Barcelona: Neto; Alves, Eric (Marmol, 61’), Lenglet (Mingueza, 46’), Balde; Demir (Akhomach 46’), Riqui Puig, Sanz (Matheus 61’); Jutgla, Coutinho (Jaime, 71), Dest (Comas 61’).
Goal: Jutgla 51’
Boca Juniors: Rossi; Advincula, Izquierdoz, Rojo, Fabra; Villa, Campuzano, Almendra, Ramirez; Cardona, Vazquez.
Goal: Zeballos 77’