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Piqué 'almost perfect' says Guardiola

FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola said Gerard Piqué "was almost perfect" in the Group C-clinching 5-2 win at Sporting Clube de Portugal while both he and Paulo Bento agreed Marco Caneira's own goal was the key moment.

Josep Guardiola enjoyed his night in Lisbon
Josep Guardiola enjoyed his night in Lisbon ©Getty Images

FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola said Gerard Piqué "was almost perfect" in the 5-2 win at Sporting Clube de Portugal that sealed first place in UEFA Champions League Group C. Both sides were already through and Sporting's Paulo Bento agreed with Guardiola that the Marco Caneira own goal – which made it 4-2 after the home side had fought back from three down – was the key moment.

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
It's good news having secured first place, just as it was in the previous game when we qualified. We had a good first half and played quick football. The second half was strange but after we made it 4-2 we calmed down again. We were very lucky when Caneira scored the own goal. The pitch was tough and that made the game much slower. The players that don't play much did a wonderful job and I am very satisfied with them.

Piqué was almost perfect. He performed well and I'm happy. He's a very young lad and we have to pay attention because sometimes he has an inclination to relax. When it got to 3-2 I didn't think that it was the easiest game I had ever experienced. I want to congratulate Sporting on their qualification.

Paulo Bento, Sporting coach
We didn't start well and we didn't play well for the first 45 minutes against a skilled and technical team. We weren't aggressive as we were trying to cut out their passing approaching the box. We made the mistake of keeping the ball near our defence or defensive midfield. We experienced many problems in the first half and when you play with no aggression against a team like Barcelona. They scored twice in the opening 17 minutes and then controlled the game.

It was a bad result for us considering what we did in the second half. We paid for our immaturity with the first two goals. We came back unto the game after it went to 3-2 but then there was the own goal. If we could have kept it at 3-2 for longer, we could have done more. The fourth goal and Rui [Patrício]'s dismissal put an end to the game. Perhaps the fact that we had already qualified made things more difficult for us, when it should have been the opposite. It was Daniel [Carriço]'s first game [in the UEFA Champions League] and he paid for his lack of experience but there are always positive things the defeats. He has a bright future.