Gerard Pique stars as Stoke City striker Bojan helps fire Catalonia to victory over Venezuela

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Gerard Pique stars as Stoke City striker Bojan Krkic helps fire Catalonia to victory over Lionel Messi’s conquerors Venezuela in friendly

  • Barcelona’s Gerard Pique retired from international duty with Spain in 2018
  • But he is still eligible to play for Catalonia who took on Venezuela on Monday
  • Pique received his tenth cap while Stoke City striker Bojan found the net
  • An 88th-minute winner from Javi Puado secured a 2-1 win in a friendly
  • Catalonia are able to play friendlies but cannot force clubs to release players 

Venezuela followed up their stunning win over Lionel Messi‘s Argentina by losing to Gerard Pique’s Catalonia 2-1 in a friendly on Monday.

Javi Puado scored in the 88th minute to give the hosts the win at Girona’s Montilivi Stadium. 

Stoke City striker Bojan Krkic opened the scoring on 53 minutes while and Venezuela equalised through Roberto Rosales six minutes later.

Bojan Krkic of Stoke City opened the scoring in the 53rd minute for Catalonia in Girona

Bojan Krkic of Stoke City opened the scoring in the 53rd minute for Catalonia in Girona

Barcelona's Gerard Pique was making his tenth appearance for the Catalan national side

Barcelona’s Gerard Pique was making his tenth appearance for the Catalan national side 

Catalonia were led by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, who retired from Spain’s national team after the World Cup last year. 

Despite that retirement he still accepts call-ups from the autonomous region and received his tenth cap against Solomon Rondon’s Venezuela. 

The 32-year-old nearly scored with a curling free kick that struck the crossbar in the first half.

Venezuela earned a convincing 3-1 win over Argentina in Madrid on Friday, but after the game Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel offered his resignation because he was not happy with the politicisation of a pre-game visit to the squad.

Catalonia are able to play friendly matches but clubs are not obliged to release their players

Catalonia are able to play friendly matches but clubs are not obliged to release their players

Dudamel, who was on the bench on Monday, had said his future would depend on talks with Venezuelan football federation officials. 

He did not show up for the post-match news conference, and an assistant said a decision would be made only after the squad returned to Venezuela.

Catalonia, the region which recently was in the middle of a heated independence dispute with Spain, was missing players because some teams refused to release players to avoid the risk of injures ahead of the final period of the Spanish league. 

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi was among those refused permission to play, after his club Al-Sadd denied the 12-time capped Catalan.  

Catalonia are able to put together squads to play in friendly matches against other nations, but clubs are not obligated to release players to the region.

 

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