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Copa del Rey
December 12, 2012
• Estadio Nuevo Arcángel, Córdoba
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande
• Attendance: 20000
L. Messi 11', 74'
Thanks for joining me for what was an entertaining match at the Nuevo Arcangel tonight. Good night!
FULL-TIME: CORDOBA 0-2 BARCELONA Two goals from Lionel Messi this evening have put the Blaugrana in a strong position going into the second leg of their last-16 Copa del Rey tie with Cordoba, with the Argentine scoring either side of half-time tonight to make it 2-0. Cordoba impressed in the first half but tired noticeably after the break, as Tito Vilanova's team began to control possession in midfield.
90' + 4'
Pinto hoofs a goal kick skywards and the referee decides to blow his whistle to mark the end of the match. Barcelona win 2-0.
90' + 3'
Tello is caught offside again. Twice in 10 minutes. That's quite few by his standards.
90' + 2'
Pique is adjudged to have fouled Dami right in front of the referee, much to the centre-back's dismay.
90' + 1'
The fourth official indicates there will be FOUR minutes of added time here.
Alba stops Cordoba's Pedro from hacking a cross towards Rennella from the right with a strong tackle, as the home side look for a goal in the closing stages here.
Tello came on for Villa a few minutes ago! Mystery solved.
The flag goes up against Cristian Tello, who was introduced without me noticing it seems. The youngster ventures into an offside position on the left and play is brought back.
We're into the final five minutes here at the Nuevo Arcangel and Barcelona are in control of proceedings. It's been an impressive second half performance from the Blaugrana. Pique in particular has been superb when called upon in defence.
THAT LOOKED LIKE A FREE KICK!! Vico is caught by a tackle from Mascherano on the edge of the Barcelona box as he plays a ball through to Pedro but the referee fails to acknowledge the foul and play continues only for Pinto to rush from his line and gather the ball.
SAIZAR STANDS FIRM TO DENY MESSI!! The Cordoba goalkeeper does well to stop Messi from scoring his third of the evening after the attacker had burst through the challenges of Fuentes and Aguilar.
Cordoba have been given very little time on the ball in this second half as Barcelona have showed their class in possession to quash the attacking threat posed by the home side. The first half was even but the second has been all about Vilanova's side.
Messi has scored twice in each of his last five Liga appearances for Barcelona, and now he has scored twice tonight in this Copa del Rey match. 88 goals in the calendar year now!
Despite Alba looking in pain Vilanova takes off his other full-back for Barcelona's second change of the night, as Alves is replaced by Martin Montoya.
Alba is the latest player to go down with an injury. The Barcelona left-back is holding his left shoulder gingerly after falling awkwardly in a challenge with Fernandez.
Goal Lionel Messi
MARVELLOUS FROM BARCELONA!! MESSI MAKES IT 2-0! The 25-year-old notches his second of the game after a crisp passing move involving Thiago and Alexis resulted in the latter playing Messi through on goal. The Argentina international made no mistake on this occasion as he slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner, having missed a similar opportunity moments before.
Cordoba's fans hurl abuse at the referee after the official fails to award the home side a penalty. It was a correct decision though, as Pique won the ball fairly from Dubarbier just inside the Barca box.
FANTASTIC PLAY BY PIQUE!! The Barca centre-back retrieves the ball on the edge of his own box before bursting forward over the half way line and curling a perfect pass to Messi. The Argentine races through one-on-one with Saizar but fails to beat the Cordoba goalkeeper with a rather tame effort at goal.
STAT: The Blaugrana have lifted the Copa del Rey on 26 previous occasions, the most recent of which came last season when they beat Athletic Bilbao in the final 3-0 thanks to a Pedro double and a Lionel Messi strike.
Sanchez joined the Catalan giants from Udinese for megabucks back in the summer of 2011, but after shining in his first season has gone on to score just once in his past 17 appearances.
Barca make their first change of the night, as Vilanova replaces Pedro with the Chile international Alexis Sanchez.
Messi fires the free kick into the box where it is controlled brilliantly on the chest by Pique of all people. The centre-back tries to find space to shoot at goal but settles for a corner off the legs of Gaspar.
Yellow Card Fede
The visitors win a free kick 35 yards from goal after Vico catches Messi as he looks to move into the right-hand channel.
Vilanova's men are really controlling the game now, with their midfield dominating the central areas and finding themselves with time and space on the ball.
Xavi's lofted corner finds its way through to Adriano on the edge of the box but the Brazilian's first-time shot at goal was in no danger of troubling Saizar and sailed out for a goal kick.
Xavi looks to carve the Cordoba defence open with a pass to Villa but a timely touch from Fernandez takes it away from the Barcelona No. 7, although it is at the expense of a corner for the visitors.
STRONG SAVE FROM SAIZAR!! The Cordoba goalkeeper stops Pedro from increasing Barcelona's lead after a well-worked move between Messi and Xavi resulted in the attacker being played in on the right-hand side of the penalty area.
TOP WORK FROM FERNANDEZ! Alba looked to have got in behind the Cordoba right-back with a quick change of feet but the defender recovered well to get back in front of the Barcelona man and nick the ball away before passing it away from danger.
Villa looks uncomfortable following that altercation with Pedro, and is helped off the field for treatment by the Barcelona physio.
A marvellous pirouette from Villa allows him to drift past a challenge from Cordoba's Pedro before the home team's midfielder decides the only option is to haul the Barcelona attacker to the floor.
HORRIBLE FROM VILLA! I'm not sure if that was a poor finish or whether the pitch was to blame for that miss. Villa is played in by a sumptuous pass from Messi, but after opening up his body shoots high and wide of Saizar's goal.
Lopez wins the ball well from Messi just inside the Cordoba half and the home side are allowed to attack down the left before a well-timed tackle from Alves dispossesses Dubarbier.
NEARLY BRILLIANT FROM PEDRO!! Thiago slides a pass towards the Masia graduate as he bursts into the Cordoba box, and after the ball bobbles up following a questionable first touch he hits a dipping sidefoot volley just over Saizar's crossbar.
Xavi gives the ball away in midfield (no, really), and Cordoba are able to seize possession.
GOOD STRIKE FROM CABALLERO!! The Cordoba holding midfielder sends a firm shot towards goal from 20 yards after a penetrating run down the right from Rennella. Pinto has to jump to his right to stop the effort from finding the back of the net.
Cordoba get the second half underway here at the Nuevo Arcangel...
HALF-TIME: CORDOBA 0-1 BARCELONA The home side will feel slightly aggrieved to have gone in behind at the break to their illustrious opposition, after they had a goal disallowed and fashioned a number of chances in the first half. Lionel Messi's close-range effort (that he very nearly missed) separates the teams, while Fede Vico and Sebastian Dubarbier have come close to scoring for Cordoba.
45' + 2'
After Barcelona clear that corner the referee blows his whistle to mark the end of the first half.
45' + 1'
Dubarbier passes the ball infield after finding his route down the line blocked off by Alves, and Cordoba keep possession well before forcing Pique into making a last-ditch tackle ahead of Rennella to put the ball behind for a corner.
Messi drives towards the Cordoba goal and manages to win a corner after appearing to lose the ball. The home side deal with the set piece well though, and immediately try and counter through Dubarbier on the left.
Dubarbier curls the set piece on to the head of Aguilar but the defender's effort is straight at Pinto who catches the ball easily.
Song fouls Fernandez over on the far side and Cordoba have a chance to swing a cross into the box from the free kick...
The Cordoba defence is standing firm in the last few minutes before half-time, as Barcelona go in search of a second goal before the break. The two centre-backs, Gaspar and Aguilar, in particular have been on hand to thwart a number of attacks in the past 10 minutes.
A threaded pass from Thiago towards Messi is dealt with comfortably by Gaspar, the Cordoba captain hammering the ball into stands under pressure from the Argentine forward.
Cordoba move the ball quickly from left to right, from Fuentes to Fernandez, but when the ball is crossed into the Barcelona box there is only Rennella to aim for and Pique is able to read the pass and clear the ball away.
Messi wants a free kick after failing to latch on to a pass from Xavi but play is waved on by the man in luminous yellow and Cordoba work the ball down the right.
Alves has gone off to receive treatment for that knock, but play continues without him, with Barcelona momentarily down to 10 men.
YELLOW CARD FOR DUBARBIER!! The Cordoba midfielder makes his way into the referee's notebook after catching Alves as he attempted to win the ball on the near side.
Yellow Card Sebastian Dubarbier
The visitors are trying to slow the pace of the game down in midfield but are still being pushed to move the ball quickly by their opposition. The pushing has been too hard on some occasions in this first half though. Barcelona have just won a free kick after Pedro clatters into Xavi in the centre circle.
STAT: The Catalans are still unbeaten in La Liga this season but have tasted defeat in cup competitions. They were beaten 2-1 by Real Madrid in the Super Cup and lost 1-0 to Celtic in the Champions League.
Cordoba's Pedro is down clutching his face after a challenge from Thiago, but after a quick spell on the turf he is up on his feet and fit to continue.
I've just been passed a lovely snippet of information from my colleague Mark Doyle. Enjoy... "Danish TV made the rather surprising decision to show Mallorca-Sevilla instead of this game, presumably because they thought it would be more competitive... it's 3-0 to Sevilla already." Meanwhile, the Danes are missing a fine contest here in Cordoba!
Having said that, Villa has just been denied a stonewall penalty following a robust challenge from Gaspar inside the Cordoba box. The referee decides that the forward lost his footing but that looked a clear foul!
For the second time in this first half Cordoba feel aggrieved at not being given a corner by the referee. Again they have every right to be annoyed as Mascherano clearly got the last touch as the ball ran out of play behind Pinto's goal.
Barca waste a chance to work the ball into the Cordoba box from a free kick and instead gift the home side possession by conceding a free kick themselves.
What a fantastic game! Cordoba are not daunted by their opposition tongiht and are really going for it. Vico and Dubarbier are posing a threat whenever they get the ball, while the right-back Fernandez has just juggled the ball over the head of Barcelona's left-back Jordi Alba. Magical stuff!
The home side win yet another corner after Alves headed the initial free kick behind, but fail to make the most of the set piece as Pique heads the ball back to Pinto who is then able to clear the ball upfield.
I tell you what this Fede Vico lad looks handy! The 18-year-old goes off on a jinking run through the heart of the Barcelona defence and wins a free kick after being caught by Pique.
Cordoba have another corner! Rennella wins it this time after some decent play on the right-hand side.
CORDOBA HAVE EQUALISED ... But the linesman has his flag up! The 18-year-old Vico whipped a fine pass into the path of Vincenzo Renella, but the Italian has strayed just offside in the build-up before lashing the ball past Pinto. Cordoba deserve a goal based on their start to this match!
A lovely pass from Gerard Pique nearly sets Villa free inside the Cordoba box but the Spain international miscontrols the ball and the home side are able to break and win a corner on the right.
You have to give credit to Cordoba for trying to press Barca high up the pitch, but I've a feeling the visitors may score a few goals on the break tonight. They haven't started this game well but have still created two or three good goalscoring chances already, one of which Messi scored from!
Messi very nearly missed that chance! It was pretty much an open goal too! That would have been embarrassing for a man who has now scored 87 goals in 2012.
Goal Lionel Messi
MESSI SCORES FOR BARCELONA!! Thiago thumps a long-range strike against the crossbar from distance and within a minute Barcelona work the ball into the Cordoba box to Villa who sets up an easy chance for Messi with the goalkeeper Saizar out of position. The Argentine's effort goes in off the crossbar to make it 1-0.
Cordoba are kitted out in a Betis-esque strip of green-and-white stripes and they are doing a good job of replicating the Liga side's performance against Vilanova's team on Sunday by hassling and pressing Barcelona in possession and forcing a number of passing errors.
Barcelona start to move the ball nicely and it eventually falls to Alves on the right but his cross into the box is awful and balloons out for a goal kick for the home side.
Dubarbier is causing havoc down the left and some fine wing play results in a cross falling to Fernandez on the right of the Barca box. The defender hits a first-time shot towards goal but it rattles into the side netting rather than forcing Pinto into another stop.
SAVE FROM PINTO!! The Barcelona goalkeeper is forced into tipping a rising effort from Fede Vico over his own crossbar and out for a corner as the home side continue their impressive start to this game.
PEDRO IS OFFSIDE!! Cordoba are playing a very high line to try and press Barcelona into making mistakes but it nearly allows Pedro a clear run at goal after he is played through by Messi. Fortunately for Cordoba's defence Pedro had strayed into an offside position and the linesman spotted that and raised his flag accordingly.
Cordoba think they have won a corner on the left after Sebastian Dubarbier runs at Dani Alves and the ball flicks off the Brazilian full-back and behind, but the referee has other ideas and wrongly awards a goal kick to the visitors.
And we are off here at the Nuevo Arcangel! Barcelona get the game started through Lionel Messi and David Villa.
As is often the case with Spanish football the kick-off appears to be slightly delayed. Fingers crossed we will be underway in the next few minutes.
Barcelona are going in search of their 27th Copa del Rey. Not bad, not bad at all... We are just minutes away from kick off here, as the two teams make their way out on to the pitch.
And here is the team that the Cordoba fans hope can limit that rather potent Barca strikeforce... Cordoba (4-4-2): Saizar; Fernandez, Gaspar, Aguilar, Fuentes; Pedro, Caballero, Garai, Dubarbier; Fede Vico, Rennella
LIONEL MESSI THAT'S WHO! Here is Barcelona's XI in full: Pinto; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Xavi, Song, Thiago; Pedro, Messi, Villa
There is no rest for the wicked as the saying goes, or the absurdly talented judging by Tito Vilanova's starting XI tonight. Guess who is upfront?
My name is Charlie Scott and I'm the lucky soul bringing you updates from tonight's match as it unfolds at the Nuevo Arcangel stadium in Cordoba. As always, feel free to pitch your thoughts and opinions on the game to me on Twitter, @charliefscott.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and may I wish you a warm welcome, on what is a freezing evening here in Europe, to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Barcelona's last-16 Copa del Rey trip to Cordoba.
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