Barcelona open women’s season with a win after referee strike

BARCELONA (AFP): Reigning Spanish women’s champions Barcelona opened the new professional top flight Liga F with a 2-0 win over UDG Tenerife on Saturday.

The first round of fixtures was postponed last weekend because of a refereeing strike, with a new pay deal reached between Liga F and the officials on Wednesday night.

English summer signings Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh, both arriving from Manchester City, made their debuts for Barcelona, along with 16-year-old midfielder Vicky Lopez and Brazilian striker Geyse Ferreira.

The latter, signed from Madrid CFF, broke the deadlock in the 61st minute with a freak goal, deflecting a clearance from the edge of the area into the net.

Caroline Graham Hansen rifled in the second with a long-distance strike as Barcelona settled into a more comfortable rhythm after a disjointed first half.

Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, out for the season after suffering an ACL injury in the summer, watched from the stands at the Johan Cruyff stadium as last season’s Champions League runners-up saw out the game comfortably in her absence.