Archive | January, 2013

Real Madrid 1 FC Barcelona 1 (Copa del Rey Semi-Final first leg)

31 Jan

A goal from Raphael Varane ten minutes from time denied Barça a victory at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium tonight. Cesc Fabregas has given Barça the lead early in the second half but Barça missed chances to add further goals and Varane’s equalizer now leaves the tie wide open for the second leg at Camp Nou in four weeks’ time.As expected Jordi Roura opted for Barça’s cup once de gala with Pinto in goal, Alves, Piqué, Puyol and Alba in defence, a midfield of Xavi, Busquets and Fabregas, and Pedro, Messi and Iniesta leading the line. José Mourinho had to deal with the absences of Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao and Di Maria. His big surprise was giving a debut to new signing Diego Lopez in goal, which suggests quite clearly that Antonio Adan was used in Mourinho’s ongoing dispute with Casillas, going with a starting XI of Diego Lopez, Essien, Varane, Carvalho, Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Khedira, Callejon, Ozil, Ronaldo, Benzema in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

via Real Madrid 1 FC Barcelona 1 (Copa del Rey Semi-Final first leg).

via Real Madrid 1 FC Barcelona 1 (Copa del Rey Semi-Final first leg).

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Preview: Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona (Copa del Rey Semi Final first leg)

29 Jan

The first Clásico of 2013 takes place tomorrow night (Wednesday, 9 pm) as Real Madrid and Barça meet in the Copa del Rey Semi Final first leg at the Santiago Bernabéu. Jordi Roura has named 19 players for the trip to the Spanish capital, leaving only Martin Montoya, Isaac Cuenca and Cristian Tello in Barcelona along with the unavailable Eric Abidal, Marc Muniesa and Johnathan dos Santos.Real Madrid have been having a torrid time this season. Reports of dressing room discontent with coach José Mourinho have been plentiful and poor results in the league have left them fifteen points adrift of Barça at the top of the table. There is no doubt that Mourinho’s style of management has brought a certain amount of success to the teams he has coached, but at the same time it is clear that his manner also creates problems.

via Preview: Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona (Copa del Rey Semi Final first leg).

via Preview: Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona (Copa del Rey Semi Final first leg).

FC Barcelona 5 Osasuna 1

28 Jan

Four more goals from the unstoppable Leo Messi and another from Pedro Rodriguez earned Barça a 5-1 victory over Osasuna at Camp Nou tonight. The four-time Ballon d’Or winner put Barça in front early on before Raoul Loé fired in an equalizer after 23 minutes. Osasuna were reduced to ten men soon after when Alejandro Arribas was dismissed after two separate handballs. The second incident also won Barça a penalty which Messi hammered home, and from then in it was all too easy as Pedro, Messi and Messi again finished the job to put Barça eleven points clear at the top of La Liga after Atlético’s defeat at San Mames.With an eye on Wednesday’s cup clásico, Jordi Roura made five changes to the team that won at Malaga in the quarter finals. Victor Valdés returned in goal for his first game at Camp Nou since his announcement that he won’t renew his contract – the crowd’s reaction to Valdés was generally positive. Adriano and Puyol came in for Jordi Alba and Piqué in defence, Thiago replaced Fabregas in midfield while up front we played with David Villa on the left instead of Andrés Iniesta.

via FC Barcelona 5 Osasuna 1.

via FC Barcelona 5 Osasuna 1.

Preview: FC Barcelona vs Osasuna (game 21 liga 2012/13)

27 Jan

Leo Messi trained normally with the group this morning and will be available for Barça’s league game at home to Osasuna tomorrow (Sunday 7 pm). The team will train again tomorrow morning at Camp Nou before Jordi Roura decides which players are in best shape for the job, while no doubt keeping in mind the coming challenge of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final at Real Madrid.Team selection is a complicated business in a situation like this. Everybody knows La Liga is more important than La Copa and after dropping three points at Real Sociedad last week we definitely don’t want to lose any more points tomorrow. At the same time it is fair to say that our lead of eight points over Atlético and fifteen over Madrid still allows us some margin of error.

via Preview: FC Barcelona vs Osasuna (game 21 liga 2012/13).

via Preview: FC Barcelona vs Osasuna (game 21 liga 2012/13).

Malaga 2 FC Barcelona 4 (Barça win 6-4 on aggregate)

25 Jan

Barça set up a tantalizing Copa del Rey semi-final with Real Madrid after a magnificent 2-4 win over Malaga at La Rosaleda tonight. Twice Malaga equalized after Pedro Rodriguez and Papa Gerard Piqué had given Barça the advantage but goals from Andres Iniesta and Leo Messi finally finished with the tough-tackling Andalucians and sent Barça through 6-4 on aggregate.Except for the typical change of Pinto for Valdés for the cup, Jordi Roura opted for the same ten outfield players that won 1-3 at La Rosaleda eleven days ago which meant that with Mascherano back in place of Puyol there were only two changes to the team that lost to Real Sociedad on Saturday.

via Malaga 2 FC Barcelona 4 (Barça win 6-4 on aggregate).

via Malaga 2 FC Barcelona 4 (Barça win 6-4 on aggregate).

Copa del Rey quarter-final 2nd leg preview: Malaga vs FC Barcelona

23 Jan

Jordi Roura has named 19 players for tomorrow’s Copa del Rey quarter final return match at Malaga with the principal novelty being the return of David Villa after his hamstring problems. Gerard Piqué is also in the list after becoming a father last night, and after last week’s 2-2 draw in the first leg at Camp Nou, Barça need a win or a very high score draw to set up a semi-final which, barring a miracle from Valencia tonight, will mean two more mouthwatering clásicos with Real Madrid.Villa’s return gives us more options but the best news of the week was the medical clearance given to Isaac Cuenca after nearly eight months out with a knee injury. With a higher number of players in the squad it may become more complicated to keep everybody happy and for tomorrow’s game Cuenca, Martin Montoya, Marc Bartrá and Johnathan dos Santos have all been left at home. In Dos Santos’s case it would seem clear that he is surplus to requirements at the moment and it is difficult to understand why he doesn’t accept a loan offer for the rest of the season.

via Copa del Rey quarter-final 2nd leg preview: Malaga vs FC Barcelona.

via Copa del Rey quarter-final 2nd leg preview: Malaga vs FC Barcelona.

Real Sociedad 3 FC Barcelona 2

21 Jan

After an unbeaten first half of the league season Barça went down 3-2 to Real Sociedad at Anoeta this evening. As occurred in the same fixture last season Barça took an early 0-2 lead, through goals from Leo Messi and Pedro Rodriguez. Last season the game ended at 2-2, but tonight after Chory Castro had pulled a goal back for Real, Gerard Piqué was sent off in the 56th minute for a second yellow card and ten-man Barça failed to hold on as an unlucky own goal from Javier Mascherano and an injury time strike from substitute Imanol Agirretxe gave victory to the Basques.There were no surprises in Tito Vilanova’s line-up with arguably our best XI on show. Iniesta continued on the left while Alves and Puyol got the nod over Adriano and Mascherano in defence. Barça didn’t take long to see Real’s advanced defence with Iniesta chipping a ball through for Messi which you would normally expect him to bury, however, having darted into the area he pulled his left foot shot well wide of the far post.

via Real Sociedad 3 FC Barcelona 2.

via Real Sociedad 3 FC Barcelona 2.