Barca claim upper hand
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Barcelona defeated local rivals Espanyol 1-0 in the Spanish Supercopa first leg.
Barcelona claimed the upper hand in the Spanish Supercopa with a 1-0 first-leg win at local rivals Espanyol.
Ludovic Giuly scored the only goal of match at the Montjuic, as the Primera Liga champions faced the Copa del Rey holders in the two-leg curtain-raiser to the new season in Spain.
It was the cup winners that started brightly in front of their own fans, with Fredson forcing Victor Valdes into an early save with a fierce strike.
The Barca number one was then called on again to block away a Rufete strike before Ronaldinho forced a save from Espanyol keeper Gorka Iraizoz at the other end.
Xavi then brought another stop from Iraizoz after Samuel Eto'o found him in the Espanyol box with a defence-splitting pass before Giuly handed Barca the lead just before the break.
Ronaldinho was the heart of the move, as the World Player of the Year picked the French winger out on the edge of Espanyol box before the former Monaco man beat Iraizoz with a right-foot finish.
The second half saw Espanyol go very close to levelling, but Eduardo Costa's strike flew just wide soon after the restart.
That was closest the home side came to scoring, as Barca controlled the second period - with Deco, Thiago Motta and Oleguer all missing the target.
Iraizoz was called on to make stops from substitute Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho, while Luis Garcia brought a save out of Valdes at the other end.
Just before the final whistle, Barcelona summer signing Gianluca Zambrotta made a cameo appearance in place of captain Carles Puyol.
Barca will feel confident of securing their first piece of silverware of the new season in Sunday's second leg at Camp Nou.