0-1, Gudjohnsen (min. 62)
0-2, Gudjohnsen (min. 76)
1-2, Tarradellas, penalty (min. 93)
FC Barcelona beat Badalona 1-2 in the first leg of their Spanish Cup debut, thanks to goals from Gudjohnsen on 62 and 76 minutes. The tie seems pretty much sorted for Barca despite conceding an injury time penalty.
The game swung to and from with both teams enjoying periods of dominance. The locals made a bright start and their route one approach brought them a couple of chances in the first half, giving Barca's stand in keeper and best player in the first period Albert Jorquera a chance to shine. In the second half though, Eidur Gudjohnsen got in on the act and the locals began to flag. A late penalty from Tarradellas following an Oleguer tackle on Isaías gave Badalona a consolation goal.
Badalona, in good form
The first quarter of an hour was a pretty typical example of this kind of game, where a smaller club comes out firing on all cylinders to try and surprise their more famous opponents. Even though Barca enjoyed more possession, 60percent, Badalona's more direct approach gave them the better chances, though it was Rijkaard's men who made the first real opening on 25 minutes when Xavi released Gudjohnson for a one on one with keeper Relaño, who was just able to save.
Jorquera in good form
Almost Immediately after Gudjohnson's effort, Badalona had a great chance themselves, but Jorquera tipped Ramirez's shot over for a corner. The Barca reserve keeper was again called on to save his team's blushes 10 minutes later, saving at point blank range from Badalona's David Prats.
Gudjohnsen goals decisive
Rijkaard sent on Edmilson for Motta to stiffen up midfield at half time and the pace of the game dropped after the break, though Badalona continued to hold their own. Until Gudjohnsen's first goal when he latched onto a Saviola cross from the left to beat the keeper and knock the locals morale back a peg or two.
A quarter of an hour later, Gudjohnsen was again on target, this time following up a good shot from Ezquerro that Relaño could only parry out to the Icelander. Barca were now clearly in the driving seat, but the late penalty gave the home side something to take into the second leg.
FC Barcelona have won the Cup more than any club, with 24 titles, although things have not gone too well in recent years. The last time they won the Cup was in 1997-98, since when Barça have been knocked out at the semi final stage twice, three times in the quarter finals, and three times in the round of 32.
FC Barcelona face Badalona tonight in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey (22:00, TV3). Barcelona's attempt at another major title is about to begin.
Barça had six different titles to play for this year. With the Spanish and European Super Cups already completed, and several League and Champions League matches already played, the fifth title challenge, the Copa del Rey, begins this evening (22:00, TV3). Then, only December's World Club Championship awaits.
The venue is the Avenida de Navarra in Badalona. The Second Division B (Group III) club welcomes the European champions for a fascinating match. Small clubs are always enormously motivated for games like these, and Rijkaard's side will have no margin for error. They will also be far less used to the artificial surface at Badalona's home ground.
Several stars missing: Rijkaard has named 16 players for Badalona, and those left out include Thuram, Márquez, Deco, Ronaldinho and Iniesta, who are all to be rested. The former four, according to a statement made by the coach to the press, will be starting special individual programmes today in order to get their fitness back to peak level.
There are also, of course, three injured players (Eto'o, Belletti and Messi ). The latter sprained an ankle in Sunday's game at Real Madrid.
Reserves in action: Meanwhile, Rijkaard has included two Barça B players in Jeffren and Olmo. This is the first time the former has been chosen for the first team, while the latter made his official debut last season at San Mamés. Neither has played first team football this season.
Turf handicap: One of the main obstacles this evening will be the artificial surface. Badalona's pitch is also much smaller than what the Barça stars are used to playing on. The home side will be used to the circumstances, but Barça will need to learn to adapt quickly.
The players started getting used to the change of surface by training on Tuesday on the artificial pitch next to the Mini Estadi.