x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Barca kick off US pre-season tour in style

A trademark David Beckham free-kick was not enough to stop the LA Galaxy going down to Barcelona in California last night.

David Beckham's free-kick from 25-yards leveeled the score against Barcelona.
David Beckham's free-kick from 25-yards leveeled the score against Barcelona.

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA // Pedro Rodriguez and Jeffren Suarez scored to give Barcelona a 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy in a friendly that attracted 93,137 fans to the Rose Bowl on Saturday, while David Beckham scored Galaxy's solitary effort with one of his trademark free-kicks. Already the subject of a mixed reception from Galaxy fans for his loan move to AC Milan, the former Real Madrid midfielder was booed by the predominantly pro-Barcelona crowd virtually every time he touched the ball.

The crowd was the largest for a football game in the United States since the 1994 World Cup. The young Spanish striker Rodriguez gave Barca a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when he scored from close range after Lionel Messi's shot was deflected. Beckham levelled the scores in the 45th minute with a free-kick from 25-yards out and the England midfielder said he was confident the ball was destined for the back of the net as soon as he struck it.

"As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going in," he said. "It's like a golfer. When you hit the sweet spot, you know where it's going." Beckham was careful to accentuate the positive of a big crowd rather than the sustained barracking he received. "It's a night we can all be proud of," added Beckham. "It's an experience all of us won't forget. "There's going to be the odd reaction from a minority of people, but 95 per cent, 97 per cent of the fans have been incredible."

Half-time substitute Suarez scored what proved to be the winner in the 67th minute. *AP