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FC Barcelona vs. Cordoba FC, 5-0

No Messi? No problem.

After the team took a comfortable first leg lead (2-0) against Cordoba away, and with this weekend's La Liga fixture scheduled against feisty fourth-place Malaga, FC Barcelona's coaches (I assume coaches plural, although Tito Vilanova was in the U.S. for a medical consultation, leaving Jordi Roura in charge) decided to rest some of Sunday's key players - Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez, and Gerard Pique - and put some fresh faces on the field. Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi made the bench, presumably in case either Alex Song or the rest of our forwards weren't up to the challenge, but neither one ended up on the pitch. The starting line-up consisted of Pinto, Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Montoya, Sergi Roberto, Song, Thiago, Alexis, Fabregas, and Villa.

Although the first fifteen minutes did not lack for action (including an entertaining bicycle kick attempt by Dani Alves), the score was not opened until Xavi understudy Thiago Alcantara received a chip from Song, controlled it beautifully, and slammed it home. Just five minutes later, he assisted David Villa in a goal from a seemingly impossible angle that showed once again why our #7 is Spain's greatest striker. And five minutes after that, a complicated combination allowed Barca B player Sergi Roberto to assist Villa in a second, powerful shot that hit the far post and spun into the goal.

At halftime, Cesc Fabregas, another of Sunday's important players, was taken off to give Cristian Tello some playing time, while captain Carles Puyol was brought back in favor of Marc Bartra. The first substitution may have been a surprise to many, given that Alexis Sanchez seemed to be the obvious player to pull off - he had squandered several chances and moreover kept falling down and blaming innocent Cordoba defenders. But Alexis stepped up in the second half, first by scoring with an unexpected header off Thiago's corner kick, and then, in the last five minutes of regular time, by tapping in a shot from Tello that had been awkwardly knocked away by the keeper. Hopefully this means that Alexis' goal drought is over - he had scored only once before since the season started, although he has made quite a few key assists - and that healthy competition with Pedro, Villa, and Tello will result in many more goals by Men Other Than Messi.

And what was Messi doing during all of this? Watching wistfully from the bench, huddled in an enormous puffy jacket. I strongly suspect that the plan was to let him play for at least a few minutes, which would have been a good idea given that David Villa developed a cramp in the back of his thigh and asked to come off with fifteen minutes still left on the clock. However, Sergi Roberto had been injured shortly into the second half and had to be replaced by Jona Dos Santos, leaving no more substitutions available. Going down to ten men did not hurt FC Barcelona's match results. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Sergi Roberto, who will be out for approximately four weeks with a muscle tear :(. Anims, Sergi!

Finally, I couldn't steal it, so follow this link to a photo of half-nekkid Barca bbs with killer smiles :D.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
Thiago takes naked pictures with everyone! Bless him.


The fact he tweeted that pic saying 'cold water cures everything' is hilarious.
Jan. 11th, 2013 02:38 am (UTC)
I saw that, lol. I guess if I were standing next to a nekkid guy as beautiful as Marc, I would need a cold shower too.
Jan. 11th, 2013 09:18 am (UTC)
that was such a great game! we haven't seen such a calm and dominating Barca in a while ... granted, there were great games with high scores like last derby but not like that. sure it was a Segunda Division team but than, it wasn't 1st team either. I'm happy. More of that boys!
Jan. 11th, 2013 12:51 pm (UTC)
That *was* a really fun game! Great technique and attacking dominance even without Xavi, Busi, Andres, and Leo. It made me happy to see our future in our younger players!
Jan. 11th, 2013 12:54 pm (UTC)
Yes! Quoting Puyi "Tenemos futuro!" :-)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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