A spectacular second-half goal from Argentinian playmaker Juan Román Riquelme maintained FC Barcelona's perfect record in UEFA Champions League Group H as the Spanish side dented the hopes of Club Brugge KV in the Jan Breydel stadion in Bruges.
Barcelona, who had already won the group, fielded an under-strength team, with Frank de Boer, Roberto Bonano, Philip Cocu, Luis Enrique, Xavi Hernández, Gaizka Mendieta, Patrick Kluivert and Javier Saviola all rested while Patrik Andersson, Philippe Christanval, Thiago Motta, Marc Overmars and Michael Reiziger were ruled out through injury.
The home team began brightly, buoyed by their 3-1 win over Galatasaray SK on Matchday Four, and largely controlled the first half without ever really threatening their opponents' goal. Barcelona passed the ball well but lacked a cutting edge up front, although they did have the first real sight of goal, as Dani García got on the end of a high ball into the Brugge area, but his shot was straight at Dany Verlinden, who made a comfortable save.
The home team were in charge for most of the half after that early chance, and nearly took the lead in bizarre circumstances on the quarter-hour. Alin Stoica's right-wing cross seemed to be drifting out of play, only to hit the top of the crossbar and bounce back into play. Peter van der Heyden's follow-up header was powerful but straight at Robert Enke, who saved easily.
Brugge came close again four minutes later, when Gert Verheyen, who worked tirelessly all night and was a constant thorn in the side of the Barcelona defence, delivered a cross from the left, and Sandy Martens' header forced Enke to palm away under pressure.
Another near miss
The game sparked into life two minutes before the interval, as Verheyen, who had had claims for a penalty waved away a minute earlier, burst past Fernando Navarro and crossed dangerously, but Enke palmed away and Van der Heyden's shot from the edge of the area was blocked by Carlos Puyol.
The second half began quietly, but Riquelme's goal four minutes past the hour broke the deadlock and left the home side with it all to do. Having picked up a pass from Gerard López in midfield, he skipped away from two defenders and struck a shot low into Verlinden's left-hand corner from 25 metres.
Brugge bounce back
After initially struggling following that setback, Brugge came back strongly and might easily have found an equaliser in the final ten minutes. Stoica was crowded out inside the penalty area, then Enke was forced to punch away a dangerous free-kick from Gaëten Englebert.
In a frantic finale, Andrés Iniesta should have put the result beyond doubt but blazed over the crossbar from six metres. At the other end, Stoica saw a shot blocked before the last action of the match saw Enke produce a spectacular tip over the bar to keep out a flicked header from Martens.
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