ARLINGTON, Texas -- FC Barcelona put on a show to close out the Herbalife World Football Challenge on Saturday at Cowboys Stadium. Led by forward David Villa’s first-half goal, FC Barcelona took care of Club America, 2-0, in the international friendly.
*Fans were booing often in the first five minutes because of the slow tempo. That quickly changed following Club America forward Vicente Vincente Sanchez’s opportunity to score in the seventh minute. Sanchez received an entry pass with only FC Barcelona goalie Victor Valdes in front of him but tangled legs with an FC Barcelona defender behind him in the penalty box. Valdes wasn’t tested much in the game before he was substituted for Jordi Masip. Club America had only one shot in the first half and four total against Valdes before he exited in the 73rd minute.
* Villa took over with a brilliant performance in 75 minutes of action, earning the Coors Light Man of the Match. Villa actively pursued to find the open spots on the field starting in the 10th minute. He frequently found himself in the penalty box leading another FC Barcelona charge against Club America and goalie Armando Navarrete. Villa scored off a beautiful assist from defender Adriano Correia. Villa gained so much separation from Club America defenders that he was waiting for the ball to arrive in the box before his header reached the back of the net. Villa finished the game with seven shots, four on goal.
*FC Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara drew some of the loudest cheers from fans when he displayed his crafty footwork and nifty dribbling abilities. Alcantara finished the match with three shots. Forward Pedro Rodriguez also had a solid outing despite only one shot. Rodriguez always seemed to be matching Villa stride for stride down the field when FC Barcelona was in attack mode. FC Barcelona finished the match with 15 shots, seven on goal.
*Club America made a charge in the second half following a couple of key FC Barcelona players subbing out of the game. Club America had eight shots in the second half with Sanchez and forward Christian Benitez leading the way with a combined five shots. Perhaps the biggest chance to score an equalizer came in the 65th minute when Benitz was called offsides on a through ball from midfielder Edgar Castillo.
*FC Barcelona added to its lead in the 90th minute on midfielder Seydou Keita’s tapper in the goalie box. Forward Gerard Deulofeu received a cross from the right side of the field and dribbled from the left into the penalty box. Deulofeu dribbed down the goal line and lifted the ball over a diving Navarrete, making it an easy score for Keita, who was right in front of the goal.
*FC Barcelona also dominated the time of possession over Club America, 71 to 29 percent. It also edged out Club America eight to four on corner kicks. Club America was shut out in its three World Football Challenge defeats and allowed five goals during the exhibition tournament.
*60,807 people were in attendance to watch the match, but it goes without saying that if two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi would’ve played for FC Barcelona, it would’ve drawn a larger crowd. As fans were leaving at the conclusion of the match, the video board at Cowboys Stadium showed a commercial starring Messi and quite a few fans stopped heading for the exits to watch one of the biggest names in the soccer world.