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Rijkaard praises much-needed Barcelona goalfest
by Paul Kennedy, September 20th, 2007 7AM

TAGS:  spain, uefa champions league


[CHAMPIONS LEAGUE REACTION] Barcelona took some of the pressure off its coach, Frank Rijkaard, with a thoroughly deserved 3-0 win over Lyon in their UEFA Champions League opener on Wednesday night at the Nou Camp Stadium.

"It's a great result -- three goals, an attractive game, a good atmosphere," said Rijkaard, "so I have to congratulate my players. The team played well with the crowd behind them and that's what we need at the moment in the league and Champions League."

Rijkaard had a lot to be pleased about, beginning with Thierry Henry's first goal since joining Barcelona from Arsenal.

"I'm happy with the third goal we scored," said the Dutchman, "because Thierry worked hard throughout the whole match, and I think this will spur him on for the matches to come."

Henry's goal came when put the ball into an empty net after Lyon keeper Remy Vercoutre had saved Mexican teenager Giovani Dos Santos' initial effort.

Barcelona finished the game with the 18-year-old Dos Santos and 17-year-old Bojan Krkic playing up front with Henry.

Young Argentine Lionel Messi was the star for Barcelona, setting up the first goal Lyon defender Francois Clerc knocked into his own goal in the first half and scoring the second himself with eight minutes remaining in the game.

Rijkaard tried to downplay the substitution of Ronaldinho, who had another quiet game for Barcelona.

"A sportsman always wants to play," said the Barcelona coach, "so it was normal for Ronaldinho to be a bit upset at being substituted but he played well. He's an important player for us and there are plenty of matches ahead. I like seeing things positively so despite some supporters booing him, most of them applauded him and that's what I value."


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