Tito Vilanova left very little to chance in this Copa Del Rey fixture, fielding an almost full strength side content on finishing the tie in the first leg. Pinto manned the posts as per usual. The back line consisted of Dani Alves, back after a spell on the side lines, Bartra and Mascherano as well as rising star Montoya, who rarely sees the bench these days. The rest of the starting eleven featured Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Fabregas, David Villa, Alexis Sanchez and Iniesta. The most notable absentee was one Lionel Messi, suggesting that perhaps Vilanova is content to rest the Golden Boot winner from time to time this season.
Barcelona drew first blood through a terrific effort from David Villa just before half time. He shrugged off his marker at the edge of the area to get on the end of an Iniesta through ball and unleashed a bullet into the top corner of the net, sending a message to the bench that he belongs in the starting line-up of this team. He was involved again in the second goal. A cut back from Sanchez in the penalty area was controlled by Villa, who rolled the ball into the path of Andres Iniesta just outside the box. The ball was struck first time and looped and curled into the top left corner of the net in a goal so sweet it could cause tooth decay!
Sanchez almost broke his goal drought later on with Villa again the provider, however he was cruelly denied by a poor offside ruling.
With the points secured with a two goal cushion, the management sent on some fresh legs. Busquets made way for Alex Song, Tello came in for Villa and Iniesta’s legs were rested for Jonathon Dos Santos. Fabregas continued his stellar form with a goal at the death. A good run down the right flank by Alves was followed by a floating cross and the former Arsenal captain rose in the area and headed home from close range.
It was a routine win for Barcelona in the end and they take a generous lead into the second leg which will take place at the Camp Nou on the 27th of November.
Image Credit: Eduard Omedes – MD