Riquelme brace sinks Parma

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A SUPERB first half brace of goals from Barcelona new-boy Juan Roman Riquelme was enough to lift the Catalan giants to a 4-2 pre-season friendly win over Parma in the Amsterdam tournament.

The former Boca Juniors signing was in superb form for Barca, however it was youngster Geovanni who opened the goalscoring for the Spanish outfit.

Gabri broke down the right and played in a pin-point cross to the back post for the former Cruzeiro star to slide the ball home past the helpless Sebastien Frey.

However, the Italians were not behind for long and equalised after a hash by Robert Enke. The keeper flew out his goal only to be comfortably beaten by Marco Di Vaio, who curled the ball home past Frank De Boer.

Just after the half hour mark Riquelme scored his first goal in the famous Barca shirt with an absolute scorching strike. The Argentine star turned quickly from Philip Cocu's shot pass and simply leathered the ball past Frey from 35-yards out.

Although only minutes later, the Italians found themselves back on level terms when Marco Marchionni cleverly nipped in at the near post ahead of young defender Farnando Navarro to head the ball past Enke.

Just when it looked like the match could not get more exciting, Barca finished the half in style netting a further two goals to all but seal the win.

Firstly, Riquelme netted his second after good work by Gaika Mendieta and Patrick Kluivert, and Fabio Rochemback scored with a powerfully struck free-kick from 30-yards out.

Both sides made numerous changes in the second half disrupting the fabulous flowing football that had been on display in the first 45 minutes, however neither could score again leaving Barca with a comfortable victory.