FC Barcelona 5 – 0 Cordoba Copa del Rey Match Review: The Return of El GuajeBy: kelsey | January 11th, 2013
No Messi on the pitch, no Tito on the bench, no problem. Barca outclass Cordoba and secure a spot in the quarters against Malaga next week in a night highlighted by an El Guaje brace that made a statement to the coaching staff.
Up two away goals in the aggregate, Tito and Jordi wisely chose to rest some of Barca’s hardworking regulars convincing even Messi that he really wasn’t allergic to the bench. Barca’s starting line consisted of Pinto in net; Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Montoya in the back; Song, Thiago, and Sergio Roberto in the middle of the pitch, and Cesc, Villa, and Alexis up front.Váldes, Bartra, Alba, Dos Santos, Busquets, and Tello kept Messi company on the sidelines. On the other end of the pitch Cordoba went with a starting line of: Saizar; Fernandez, Armando, Aguilar, Fuentes; Silva, Caballero, Garai, Dubarbier; Joselu, and Vico.
Barca came racing out of the gates in the first half at frantic pace without the usual calming presence of Xavi or Busi. With nearly the entire line on the attack (Pinto could’ve been picking dandelions for all in mattered in the first half) Barca immediately started pressing around Cordoba’s box creating chances, and were rewarded less than 20 minutes in. Thiago received a nice dink pass from Song, settled well, took a couple touches to line up the shot and fired the ball low into the corner. 1-0 Barca.
Then in a series of comical misfires on night for the unfortunate but hardworking Alexis, he beat the offside trap to set up a one-on-one with the keeper, tried, and failed to chip it over the keeper into the net. Minutes later, Villa showed Alexis how it’s done as he took a no look pass from Cesc to the touchline, rounded a defender with two sharp touches, and sent a shot over the keeper’s head into the far corner of the net at a sharp angle. Viva El Guaje! 2-0 Barca.
Then, minutes later, Villa struck again. Alexis crossed the ball in box to Sergi Roberto who laid the ball off to Villa, and El Guaje made no mistake rifling a shot that ricocheted off the far post and into the back netting. 3-0 Barca. Remainder of the half saw Barca continue to press and create great chances for Thiago, Dani, Cesc, and Alexis to put the ball in the back of the net, but it wasn’t to be especially for poor Alexis.
At the start of the second half, Roura sent Bartra and Tello in for Puyi and Cesc respectively letting the captain and the playmaker take a rest. While he managed to bungle yet another chance by shooting wide at an open net, Alexis finally did get his goal, a header off a corner no less! He definitely deserved something for all his hard work, and was even rewarded again later on when Bartra’s cross hit his body and the ball found its way into the back of the net. More ball hitting Alexis, than Alexis hitting ball, but we’ll take it, and Barca will take their manita!
Pinto – 7: A little bit frightening with his feet per the norm, and wasn’t tested much at all, but did well to steer the ball away a few times in the second half and secure his clean sheet.
Dani – 6.5: Unfortunately haven’t really seen the Dani of old much lately. He wasn’t bad per se, he definitely worked hard (even on defense!), but fouled (needlessly), stayed on the ball too long, and lost possession more than he should have.
Masch – 8.5: Great performance, one of his best all season, if not absolute best. Cleared danger away repeatedly with his timely interferences and tackles, really on point last night.
Puyi – 7: Always nice to have the Captain on the pitch even if it is just for one half.
Montoya – 7.5: Good defending and link up play in the attack.
Song – 6.5: Started fairly strong, and had a nice assist to Thiago, as well as his own cheeky shot on goal later, but lost the ball in dangerous positions a few times, and just doesn’t have the vision of Busi, but then again, who does?
Thiago – 9: MOTM. Inspired performance from Thiago. Such composure on the ball and in front of net. Pulled the strings in midfield, and nearly had another goal to add to his first of the season.
Sergi Roberto – 7: Easy to see why Barca’s youth program is the envy of the footballing world. Good mature performance from the young midfielder who was very unfortunate to pull up injured in the second half. He’ll be back though, no doubt.
Alexis – 7: Oh Alexis. He’s a player you want to dislike given all his misses in front of net, but can’t due to his heart and attitude. Happy for him that he was finally able to put two in; still going to have to get much much better at putting his chances away.
Cesc – 8.5: Cesc’s really been excellent this year and last night was no exception. Main creative force on the attack in the first half, and it was a brilliant half of Barca football.
Villa – 8.5: His first goal was vintage stuff showing why he’s still one of the footballing world’s top strikers. Second goal was pretty too. Should’ve had a third as JDS served a great ball up for him, but oh well. Injury scare at the end that fortunately appears to have been just that, a scare. Deserves more playing time, Tito, Jordi!
Tello – 6: Invisible for large parts of the second half, but did create two very good chances so not a complete miss, just not one of his best performances.
Bartra – 7: Good performance. Nice to see him get some minutes, and an assist!
JDS – 7.5: Very good performance from JDS. Dos Santos is quietly making a case that Tito should give him more consideration; unfortunately for him, Barca’s midfield boasts some of the best playmakers in the world so chances of breaking into the line up are very limited.
Some Related Barcelona Posts:
- Copa del Rey Review: Cordoba 0, FC Barcelona 2, Or, Ugly Yields Results Too!
- Copa Del Rey Preview: FC Barcelona vs Deportivo Alavés – Return Leg
- Copa del Rey review: Deportivo Alavés 0, FC Barcelona 3, Or, A Little Treat