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Barcelona defeated by Manchester United in Lionel Messi's absence

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Barcelona were deservedly defeated by Manchester United 3-1 (WATCH all goals and highlights here) in their second match of the International Champions Cup. Rafinha scored a late goal for the Blaugrana, who enjoyed 61 percent of possession, created 18 goal-scoring chances and attempted 13 shots, six of them on target and three to the post.

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There was little more than the players' pride at stake when the two major European clubs met on Saturday. However, Luis Enrique took the game seriously and decided to field a strong starting XI consisting on Marc Andre Ter Stegen between the posts; a back-line with Adriano, Gerard Pique, Thomas Vermaelen, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Andres Iniesta in midfield; then the Rafinha, Pedro and Luis Suarez trident upfront.


A victory against Manchester United would have undoubtedly improved the player's morale and given them a valuable boost. However, nobody in the Catalan capital is likely to lose much sleep over the result in a preseason friendly in California -- even if it was a thoroughly deserved defeat at the hands of one of Europe's top clubs.

READ the "Barcelona fall to Manchester United in Leo Messi's absence" opinion column by Francesc Tomas for ESPN here.

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