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Copa del Rey
Copa del Rey
5 February 2014
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: José Luis González González
• Attendance: 38505
Zubikarai 60' (own goal)
So, we are on course for an El Clasico final in the Copa del Rey, but we still have the semi-final second legs to play. Thanks a lot for joining me, Tom Webber, this evening. It has been a pleasure!
FULL TIME - Barcelona 2-0 Real Sociedad: The Blaugrana dominated possession throughout but struggled to create chances in a fairly unconvincing performance. Busquets opened the scoring before a bizarre own goal from Zubikarai completed the scoring, with La Real down to 10 men for the second half following Inigo Martinez's dismissal.
90' + 3'
The referee blows his whistle for full time!
90' + 2'
Messi weaves his way into the area and attempts to feed Iniesta but he tried a little too much and the chance evaporates.
90' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional three minutes.
Messi flights it to the back post, looking for Busquets, but Elustondo gets his head to it first and deals with the delivery.
Yellow CardJoseba Zaldúa
Zaldua puts in a rather clumsy challenge on Iniesta, 25 yards out from goal on the left of the box. It earns the right-back a booking and Barca will put this into the box.
It would be difficult to see Real Sociedad winning 3-0 at home in order to knock Barcelona out, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility. Conceding a late third here, though, would potentially be disastrous.
SO CLOSE! Pedro releases an absolute rocket towards the far post, which arrows up towards the top corner. It gains too much height though, and drifts just high of the crossbar.
WHAT A SAVE!! Pedro clips a fantastic cross into the box and Messi leaps forward, flinging a leg at it and aiming a powerful volley at goal. Zubikarai reacts well, pushing his arms up and diverting the shot over the top.
NOT QUITE, INIESTA! The midfielder runs onto a loose ball 25 yards from goal but skews a rather harmless shot over the roof of the net. Not one of his best efforts it has to be said.
That was a good chance for Pedro! The winger moves over to the right and latches onto a decent pass over the top of the defence but his first touch gets caught underneath him and Elustondo steals in to make an important challenge.
Truth be told, Real Sociedad have done well to keep the score down to 2-0 after going down to 10 men. It may be a worrying sign for Martino going forward, as such bluntness in attack cost them dearly against Valencia at the weekend.
JUST OVER!! Alves' header works his way to Fabregas at the far post and he lifts the ball over his own head, and that of Carlos Martinez, before looping a cross back across goal. Alves leaps to meet it but sends his header over the top.
STAT: Antoine Griezmann has scored 14 goals in 19 league appearances so far this season, making him La Liga’s third highest-scoring player behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa. He has only come close to finding the net once this evening, though.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Yellow CardLionel Messi
The visitors look to break following a Barcelona corner and Zurutuza draws a foul from Messi, who picks up a yellow card for his tackle after chasing back to help his team out defensively.
It looks like Sergio Canales is going to be coming on for his Real Sociedad debut here as he is stripped and ready on the touchline. Iniesta, too, is ready to enter the fray.
WIDE FROM PEDRO! The winger attempts an awkward volley from a dinked, diagonal pass from Sanchez, but he fails to steer it onto the target. His technique was good but the shot just lacked direction.
La Real attempt to push forward and attack Barcelona but from Zaldua's cross only Griezmann is in the area to attack it. The cross sails over the Frenchman's head and Barca come away with the ball.
GOOD SAVE! Pedro shows good vision to spot Xavi in space at the top of the box and he rolls the ball back to the captain. He takes a touch before loosing an effort at goal which he puts too close to Zubikarai, who parries it unorthodoxly out of his area.
Messi slides a pass out to Pedro on the left and he fires a first-time cross into the area, looking for Sanchez. Elustondo gets himself to it first, though, and heads the delivery away.
Yellow CardJon Gaztañaga
That is ridiculous! Gaztanaga literally rugby tackles Messi to ground 30 yards from goal. He picks up a booking for the challenge, but you have to wonder whether La Real are going to lose their heads here. If they do, we could be on for a rout.
GOOOOOAAL!! AN EXTRAORDINARY OWN GOAL! Sanchez is sent through one-on-one by an exquisite through-ball from Fabregas. The Chilean takes a touch and slots the ball past Zubikarai but his shot bounces back off the post. Elustondo attempts to clear the danger but kicks the ball straight into his goalkeeper's chest and it rebounds into the back of the net! Crazy!
Elustondo picks up a yellow card for a handball on the halfway line. Sanchez had knocked the ball past his opponent but that touch stopped him from retrieving it on the other side.
Yellow CardGorka Gorka Elustondo Urkiola
STAT: Lionel Messi has scored seven goals and supplied three assists in the previous eight matches he has played against Real Sociedad in all competitions.
A rare poor touch from Messi! The Argentine fails to anticipate two Real Sociedad defenders missing Alves' cross and so the ball hits him before rolling through to the keeper. I guess he cannot count psychic foresight too his myriad footballing abilities.
GOOD SAVE! Pedro comes inside from the left and is not closed down quickly enough so he uses the space to get a shot away. He arrows a low effort towards the near post but Zubikarai gets down to it, using a strong hand to turn it around the post.
Pique does a little bit of seal dribbling by the half-way line and Vela isn't impressed, diving in and knocking the ball down field for a throw in.
STAT: Real Sociedad last lifted the Copa del Rey in 1987 and they got all the way to the final the following year. However, they fell at the final hurdle in retaining their title due to a defeat by, you guessed it, Barcelona.
The San Sebastian side don't look to be sitting as deep now and so Fabregas attempts to loop a pass over the top for Pedro. The winger does not judge his run in a timely manner, though, and is flagged for offside.
It looks as though Griezmann is going to be asked to do a lot more of the defensive work following Inigo Martinez's red card. Vela is back too, but he is remaining higher so there is some option once they receive possession.
The second half is underway!
Welcome back! The teams are out on the pitch and the second half will begin imminently.
So having lost Mikel Gonzalez to injury, La Real have also seen Inigo Martinez leave the field early after being shown his marching orders. I thought the Txuri-urdin had set out to stifle Barcelona in the first half but I am sure that will now pale into insignificance compared to what they will do after the break! Join me in 10 minutes for it.
HALF TIME - Barcelona 1-0 Real Sociedad: The visitors had set out to frustrate their opponents but invited increasing amounts of pressure as the half grew. They had a couple of chances to score themselves, and felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Vela was felled in the area. The refere awarded nothing and one minute later Barca went ahead through Busquets and Inigo Martinez was dismissed.
45' + 1'
One minute of injury time is played before the referee blows his whistle to bring the first half to a close.
Red CardÍñigo Martínez
Yellow CardÍñigo Martínez
GOOOOOOAL!! Barca take the lead! A corner from the near side is met by Pique and his header drops to Pedro at the back post. He drills the ball back across goal and Busquets sweeps home a finish to put the Blaugrana ahead.
VELA!! WHAT A CHANCE! Mascherano is again caught out by the ball over and Vela uses his pace to beat the Argentine to the ball. He has a strong grip on the Mexican's arm and drags him to ground as the Real man gets his shot away. Pinto manages to pull off a save but Vela feels he should have had a penalty. He certainly has a case there!
Arrasate will nou doubt be delighted if his side can get to half time with the score as it currently stands, but his charges are dropping deeper and deeper and affording Barca more time and space in dangerous areas. Everyone is back behind the ball for the visitors now.
Yellow CardCarlos Vela
OFF THE BAR!! From a right-of-centre position, 20 yards out, Messi caresses an exquisite effort over the wall. It looks destined for the top corner and Zubikarai can only stop and stare, but the ball cannons down off the crossbar and the game remains goalless.
A free kick in a dangerous area for Barcelona here! Gaztanaga blocked Messi from receiving the return pass in a one-two with Alves. The Argentine dusts himself off and will fancy his chances from here.
Yellow CardJavier Mascherano
Mascherano picks up a booking for a late challenge on Vela. The Mexican just poked the ball away before his opponent could reach it and went tumbling to ground as their momentum saw them collide.
ZUBIKARAI! The keeper is forced into a late save as no one connects with Fabregas' clipped delivery into the box and it drops close to the back post. It bounces just in front of Zubikarai but he is able to push it out of the danger area.
Delightful from Messi! The Argentine superstar nutmegged Inigo Martinez and looked for a one-two with Fabregas, but the midfielder couldn't pick him out inside the box. The sheer number of bodies back for the visitors is making them incredibly difficult to break down, but can they hang on until the break?
Barca look to get in behind with Alves and Sanchez combining on the right but La Real repel them. They shift the ball over to the left and this time Alba does manage to get a cross in, however he can only pick out Jose Angel who skies the ball over his crossbar to concede a corner.
STAT: Barcelona have won their last 16 home matches against Real Sociedad in all competitions.
Play is so congested when Barca move into the final third. Messi attempts to unlock the opposition defence with a neat backheel but it fails to materialise into anything.
Barcelona have had 85 per cent possession so far this evening. That is utter dominance. Only a couple of real chances to show for it so far, though.
MESSI! HE MUST SCORE THERE! Fabregas picked out the Argentine with a driven pass into the box and he did superbly to divert it on target and pull a save from Zubikarai. From the loose ball the Camp Nou legend had another chance to find the net but his connection was poor as he sent it straight at the keeper.
A long diagonal ball over the defence from Xavi looks to set Pedro in behind but he is unable to bring it down with his first touch. It was certainly a difficult one as the pass had plenty of pace, and the winger applauds the vision.
The visitors are clearly looking to stifle the Blaugrana and catch them on the counterattack tonight. It is a tactic that worked perfectly for Valencia at the weekend but they certainly had more forward-thinking players on the pitch than La Real do tonight.
Mikel González Martínez
Carlos Martínez Díez
The hosts wait for Carlos Martinez to get himself into the box before taing their corner and Busquets flicks it on at the near post. Fabregas then steers the ball goalwards with his header but he is unable to keep it down and watches it fly harmlessly over the top.
Barca are knocking the ball about nicely roughly 35 yards from the Txuri-urdin goal. Again Xavi looks to direct play down the left and once more Alba sees his cross intercepted and deflected behind for a corner. Mikel Gonzalez is once more down on the deck. Carlos Martinez is stripped and ready to come on, mind.
The corner is swung into the centre of the box and Pique rises high to get his head to it. He fails to angle the attempt effectively, though, and watches his effort drop well wide of the target.
Barca are putting of plenty of emphasis on attacking down their left at the moment. It's Alba this time who races to the byeline but his attempted cross is blocked by Elustondo.
SO CLOSE! Barca should be ahead here. From the resultant corner, Fabregas stings the palms of Zubikarai with a long-range effort and the keeper only manages to parry it as far as Sanchez. The Chilean controls the ball with his chest but pokes his shot into the side netting. A great chance from just eight yards out.
FABREGAS! He should score there! Messi beat his man bfeore supplying Alves with the ball on the near side. His low post was deflected through to the former Arsenal midfielder at the back post but his connection was poor and Zubikarai did enough to turn it behind.
Mikel Gonzalez puts a good challenge in on Pedro out on the right, playing the ball back off of the winger and earning his side a goal kick. He stays down, holding his arm, but should be fine to continue.
STAT: Barcelona are the most successful team in the Copa del Rey having lifted the trophy a total of 26 times since its inception. Their last victory came as recently as 2012.
Griezmann makes a run into the box and controls the ball on his chest between Alba and Pique. The Barca duo squeeze the Frenchman out, though, and the left-back deals with possession by laying it off to Mascherano.
JUST OVER! Pedro lashes a swerving effort towards the far corner from 18 yards which rises narrowly over the roof of the goal. That was a wicked attempt.
The visitors seem to have set up in a 5-3-2 formation, with everyone behind the ball other than Vela and Griezmann. It is meaking it difficult for Barcelona to find space in and around the area and when Arrasate's men pick them off they instantly look to counterattack. Gaztanaga sparks one such break but he loses his composure and overhits his pass to Vela.
SAVE FROM PINTO! La Real catch the hosts on the counterattack with Mascherano failing to read the bounce of the ball and allowing Vela in behind him. The Mexican tees up Griezmann with a square pass from 20 yards and he fires a shot straight at Pinto, enabling the keeper to palm the effort away from danger.
Pedro does well to gorce his way to the byeline and put a cross into the centre of the box. Gaztanaga attempts to clear it but somehow slices the ball back towards his own goal. Fortunately for him, though, the keeper manages to collect it easily.
Real Sociedad get the ball rolling at Camp Nou. Here we go!
The teams are out on the pitch now so the game will be underway in just a few moments.
Just under five minutes to go now until kick off. In tonight's other semi-final, Real Madrid have secured an impressive first-leg lead over Atletico Madrid with a 3-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu. A good result for Barca here and we could be on for an El Classico final!
Barcelona have already hosted the San Sebastian outfit once this season and goals from Messi and Neymar helped ensure a comprehensive 4-1 victory. The Brazilian is, of course, unavailable again tonight due to his current injury. Some slight relief for La Real, then, right?
Former Real Madrid man Sergio Canales makes the bench for the Txuri-urdin tonight and so could make his first appearance for his new club at Camp Nou.
Indeed, Pinto's introduction is the only change Martino makes to his side following the 3-2 defeat to Valencia. His counterpart, Jagoba Arrasate, meanwhile, makes four changes to the team that took a 4-0 hammering from Atletico Madrid and may start with a five-man defence. Griezmann may move up alongside Vela and allow for more of a 3-5-2 formation, time will tell.
Real Sociedad substitutes: Bravo, C. Martinez, Ros, Pardo, Canales, Prieto, Seferovic.
Real Sociedad (5-4-1): Zubikarai; Zaldua, Ansotegi, Gonzalez, I. Martinez, Angel; Zurutuza, Elustondo, Gaztanaga, Griezmann; Vela.
Barcelona subs: Valdes, Puyol, Adriano, Song, Sergi Roberto, Iniesta, Tello.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Sanchez, Messi, Pedro.
The teams are in! Tata Martino decides to use this evening to give Victor Valdes a rest and so Pinto starts in goal. Andres Iniesta is also left out of the starting line-up as Cesc Fabregas continues in midfield. Let's see how the two sides will shape up tonight, in full.
Barcelona and Real Sociedad have previously met 30 times in the Spanish Cup. Four of those encounters where finals, all of which were won by the Blaugrana. The two clubs first played against each other in the 1912-13 season final and a 2-2 draw meant a replay. That, too, ended in a draw before the Catalans eventually ran out 2-1 winners in the the third game.
Hello and welcome to tonight's LIVE text commentary on the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final between Barcelona and Real Sociedad. Camp Nou is our venue tonight, and the Txuri-urdin will no doubt be boosted by witnessing Valencia's 3-2 win in the iconic stadium on Saturday. Barcelona will be keen to avoid another such result and I, Tom Webber, will be guiding you through the match.
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