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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 July 2007, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Barca out to end Dundee Utd jinx
By Colin Moffat

Ronaldinho (left) and Barcelona team-mate Thierry Henry
Ronaldinho (left) and Thierry Henry get ready for matches with Dundee United and Hearts
Frank Rijkaard has a glittering record as a player and manager.

The former Dutch international has won titles in Holland, Italy and Spain, as well as two European Cups and a European Championship.

But can he become the first manager of the Catalans to beat Dundee United after four failed attempts?

Thursday's Tannadice friendly comes 20 years after United beat Barca on their way to the final of the 1987 Uefa Cup.

United famously overturned Barcelona 1-0 and 2-1 at the quarter-final stage, while the scores were 2-0 and 2-1 in the Scots' favour when the clubs met in the 1966/67 Inter Cities Fair Cup.

Wee Jim McLean won the tactical battle with Terry Venables, while Kevin Gallacher outshone Mark Hughes, scoring with a remarkable shot in the first leg victory.

John Clark and Iain Ferguson were the heroes at the Nou Camp, scoring late goals after Caldere's first-half strike had levelled the tie.

The 60s win was just as impressive, with it being United's first foray into Europe against a side that had already lifted the Fairs Cup three times.

Barcelona, long among the giants of world football, have thrived under Rijkaard - winning two titles in his four seasons in charge and last year's Champions League.

United, arguably the best team in Tayside, enjoyed some fantastic European nights in the 80s, beating the likes of Werder Bremen and Monaco and progressing to the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1984.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

Some debateable refereeing helped Roma overcome a 2-0 first leg deficit and denied United the chance to meet Liverpool in the final.

However, these have been leaner times for the Tangerines and, following an eight year absence from European competition, their last taste came in 2005 only to end bitterly at the first hurdle with an away goals defeat to Finnish side MyPa 47.

Craig Levein's 2007 side warmed up for the sell-out match with a 2-2 draw against Raith Rovers, while Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho, Deco, Samuel Eto'o and Xavi have been training at their St Andrews base and perhaps enjoying a few holes of golf.

20 years ago, Venables may have compiled a few notes on Scotland internationals Paul Sturrock and David Narey, but it came as no surprise to hear that today's Barca stars know nothing of Mark Kerr and Darren Dods.

"We have some general information but we don't really know about the individual players," admitted midfield star Andres Iniesta.

He then warned United that they will have to work hard for a fifth victory.

"Even though this is a pre-season match, we take it very seriously because this will show us how to win," added the Spain international.

"The main objective is to get prepared for the new season, which will be a really demanding one for us.

"It's important to have a good pre-season and have strength for the new season. Our only aim is to win."

Barcelona move on to Edinburgh at the weekend, where they will take on Hearts at Murrayfield, the home of Scottish Rugby.

More than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the match in the capital.

SEE ALSO
Henry to join Barca in Scotland
21 Jul 07 |  Football
Barcelona set up Scottish dates
03 May 07 |  Dundee Utd


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