Wednesday, July 28, 2010

28 July 2007 - Barça Breaks Hearts' Record

On 28 July 2007, FC Barcelona played Edinburgh's Heart of Midlothian FC in a friendly. Although Barça got the win, Hearts got an unofficial home attendance record.

The Catalonians' visit was a rare one to Scotland and the demand for tickets to see the glamorous side prompted Hearts to move the location of the match. Their usual home, Tynecastle Stadium, holds fewer than 18,000 people, so the club relocated the friendly to nearby Murrayfield Stadium, owned by the Scottish Rugby Association. Murrayfield's capacity of 67,130 makes it the largest stadium in Scotland and one of the largest in the UK.

On the day, 57,857 people showed up to watch the preseason contest, blowing past the previous Hearts attendance record of 53,396, set in 1932 when Tynecastle still had terraces. Barcelona quickly showed their class, forcing early saves from Hearts keeper Craig Gordon before taking the lead with a 21st-minute penalty kick from captain Ronaldinho. Hearts, however, equalized just three minutes later after a Laryea Kingston free kick resulted in a tap-in from Juho Makela (pictured).

Ronaldinho proved to be too much for the Scots as he restored Barça's lead with a 40th-minute header. He was replaced in the second half by new signing Thierry Henry, whose 51st-minute pass was knocked home by Giovanni Dos Santos to finish the scoring at 3-1.

Technically, Barcelona were the hosts of the match, making the attendance record even more unofficial for Hearts.

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