Barcelona beat Manchester United on penalties in Gothenburg on Wednesday after their pre-season friendly ended 0-0.
Barca boss Tito Vilanova included Carles Puyol in his starting line-up, with fellow long-term injury victim David Villa among the substitutes, and the Spaniards started brightly with their typical possession football.
Indeed, it took less than a minute to register their first shot on goal in front of a 48,000 crowd at the Ullevi Stadium when David de Gea easily gathered Andres Iniesta’s effort.
Lionel Messi then found himself through after being set free by Iniesta but the ball drifted out of play before the Argentine could find the empty net.
At the other end, Wayne Rooney headed just wide and a Nani attempt flew just wide of a post before the Reds had a wonderful opportunity to take the lead just before the break.
Winger Cristian Tello upended Nani in the penalty area but Rooney’s poor effort from the resultant penalty was easily saved by Victor Valdes, with the England striker putting the rebound wide.
Both Sir Alex Ferguson and Vilanova made wholesale changes at half-time yet new United signing Shinji Kagawa’s shot, diverted round a post by Valdes, proved to be the only one of note in a disappointing second half and the game went to a shoot-out after 90 minutes.
Portuguese international Nani missed the first for the Red Devils, his shot rebounding off the crossbar, before Xavi Hernandez slotted home for Barca.
Ashley Young also failed with his attempt, leaving Gerard Pique to fire home the winning goal for the Catalans.
Barcelona 0-0 Manchester United
Barcelona won 2-0 on penalties
Scorers: Xavi, Pique (penalty shoot-out)
Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Puyol, Adriano; Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Iniesta, Alexis, Tello; Messi
Substitutes used: Pinto, Montoya, Bartra, Pique, Jordi Alba, Ilie, Xavi, Fabregas, Rafinha, Afellay, Pedro
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Anderson, Scholes, Nani, Young; Rooney, Welbeck
Substitutes used: Wootton, Carrick, Powell, Berbatov, Kagawa
Referee: Eriksson (Swe)