Xavi secures draw for new-look Barca

August 04, 2014 - 12:00:00 am
Xavi Hernandez of FC Barcelona scores a penalty during a friendly match against OGC Nice at the Allianz Riviera Stadium, in Nice, France, on Saturday night.

 

NICE, France: A familiar face came on and helped new-look Barcelona draw 1-1 with Nice in a friendly in southern France on Saturday night.

The veteran Xavi Hernandez was introduced at half-time with the Catalans trailing 1-0 to the Ligue 1 club at the Allianz Riviera Stadium.

And he equalised from the penalty spot midway through the second half after Romain Genevois was adjudged to have fouled young forward Munir El Haddadi.

Earlier, Argentine striker Dario Cvitanich had put Nice in front from the spot after he himself had been brought down by Gerard Pique.

New Barcelona coach Luis Enrique (pictured) handed starts to summer signings Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jeremy Mathieu, while Ivan Rakitic and Alen Halilovic were among a raft of players brought on as substitutes.

Barca’s next friendly will be against Napoli on Wednesday. Their opening game in La Liga will be against Elche on August 24.

Meanwhile, Nigeria striker Brown Ideye revealed on Sunday that delays over his visa and work permit have prevented him from linking up with new club West Bromwich Albion.

Ideye, 25, joined the Premier League side from Ukrainians Dynamo Kiev last month for an undisclosed club-record fee, signing a three-year contract with an option for a further year.

However, he has yet to travel to the United Kingdom, meaning he missed a pre-season friendly against Nottingham Forest last week and is also due to miss a fixture with Port Vale on Tuesday.

“Officials at the British High Commission (in Nigeria) are still working on it,” Ideye told the BBC Sport website.

“The club has fulfilled all the necessary requirements, but I have been told that the British High Commission require up to 15 days to sort this, which is preventing my ability to travel.

“The public holiday in Nigeria last week (Eid) slowed things down a little bit on this side.

“I hope to get it sorted in the next couple of days because I can’t wait to join my new team-mates in England.”

The striker admitted that he was likely to miss West Brom’s opening Premier League game at home to Sunderland on August 16.

“I need to join the team first then train with the squad in front of the manager (Alan Irvine) and so far I have not been able to do that,” he said.

Ideye scored 34 goals in three seasons with Ukrainian giants Dynamo, having previously played for Sochaux and Neuchatel Xamax after starting his career in his homeland with Ocean Boys.

He has won 24 caps for Nigeria, scoring five times, but was left out of the squad that reached the last 16 at the World Cup.

Agencies

 

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