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Ronaldinho 'tricks' in Barcelona's big win

September 28, 2005 07:35 IST
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Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard's decision to rest Ronaldinho and Deco at the weekend paid dividends when the pair scored all the goals in his side's 4-1 Champions League win at home to Udinese on Tuesday.

World Player of the Year Ronaldinho grabbed a hat-trick and Portugal midfielder Deco also got on the scoresheet to steer the Catalans to their second win in a row and puts three points between them and the Italians at the top of Group C.

"I'm very happy for the team and for the individual players," said Rijkaard after the match at the Nou Camp. "Ronaldinho's three goals were decisive and Deco also got one and that is a very positive sign. Congratulations to them both."

Both players were left out of the squad for Barca's league match against Real Betis at the weekend, sparking debate about the Dutchman's selection policy.

But a 4-1 win against the Andalucians and the emphatic win against Udinese allowed Rijkaard to prove his critics wrong.

"We were up against a very well-organised team and both teams created plenty of danger in a high-tempo and very entertaining game," he said. "It was a good result for us against a good team."


As well as complimenting Ronaldinho and Deco, Rijkaard also heaped praise on Argentine youngster Lionel Messi for another fine performance in the Champions League.

"He showed what a talented player he is once again and demonstrated his dynamism, pace and acceleration," said the Dutch coach. "He's still very young but he's already doing lots of good things for the team."

Udinese were the only team among the five Champions League debutants to win their opening group game with an emphatic 3-0 victory at home to Panathinaikos two weeks ago.

But the Serie A side arrived in Spain having lost three league matches in a row and were missing Italy striker Vincenzo Iaquinta, who was sidelined by the club because of a contractual dispute.

They had the additional handicap of having to play practically the whole of the second half with 10 men after midfielder Jose Vidigal was sent off for picking up a second booking after a foul on Juliano Belletti.

Despite the heavy defeat coach Serse Cosmi was pleased with his team's performance.

"It was a great game and a great night of football for the fans," he said. "We have improved a lot after 10 terrible days and I think the result was unjust as we contained their leading players for much of the game.

"But once we had a player sent off the game was over. I'm not making excuses but I was very happy with the attitude of the team."

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