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Narrow win in New York

Pizarro hands FCB victory over Chivas

Veteran goal-getter Claudio Pizarro struck the only goal of the game in New Jersey on Thursday evening as FC Bayern defeated Mexican cracks CD Guadalajara in their first serious test of the pre-season period. Coach Pep Guardiola’s men contributed their fair share to an entertaining encounter in the Audi Football Summit at the Red Bull Arena in front of a boisterous 25,073 capacity crowd, who witnessed crunching tackles, a few slick passing moves and Pizza’s expertly taken tenth-minute winner.

In the sixth friendly match of the summer Guardiola was still without a host of the club’s vacationing World Cup stars. Thursday’s line-up was almost identical to the team that won the Telekom Cup against Wolfsburg in Hamburg last weekend, with one solitary change: centre-back Holger Badstuber took a rest with Rafinha restored to the starting line-up. During the customary raft of substitutions in the course of the game, Xherdan Shaqiri amassed his first few playing minutes since resuming training last week.

The play was tight and evenly-matched for long spells as FCB were pushed hard by their agile and energetic Mexican opponents and struggled a little for fluency in the early exchanges. However, the Europeans ruthlessly converted their first scoring opportunity of the evening when Pizarro glanced home Franck Ribéry’s tenth-minute corner.

The men from Munich increasingly adapted to Guadalajara’s pass-and-move game now and were well worth the lead by the time half an hour had been played. The evergreen Pizarro came close on 24 and 32 minutes, with youngster Gianluca Gaudino again giving an impressive statement of his credentials. Captain for the night Ribéry, operating behind the front two and down the inside left channel, injected pace and precision into FCB’s attacking moves.

The flow of the game was interrupted after half-time as the Mexicans switched out almost their entire starting eleven and Bayern legs grew heavier. Ribéry came closest to doubling the score with a quarter-hour left to play, but the German double winners ultimately had keeper Tom Starke to thank for salvaging the prestigious win with a superb save after 81 minutes, denying Carlos Fierro what would have been a certain equaliser.