Catalonia beats Venezuela 2-1 in friendly in Spain
GIRONA, Spain (AP) Venezuela followed its win over Lionel Messi's Argentina by losing to 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. Bojan Krkic opened the scoring in the 53rd and Venezuela equalized through Roberto Rosales in the 59th.
Catalonia was led by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, who retired from Spain's national team after the World Cup last year. He 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 politicization of a pre-game visit to the squad.
Dudamel, who was on the bench on Monday, had said his future would depend on talks with Venezuelan soccer 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 non-Catalan teams didn't release them to avoid the risk of injures ahead of the final period of the Spanish league.
Catalonia has often 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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Updated March 25, 2019