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Marcador del partit

  • Date: Wednesday, 10 Jan
  • Competition: ???label.competicio2???
  • Stadium: Mendizorroza, Vitoria


  • Alaves: 0
  • FC Barcelona: 2

Match report

Match Report

The goals

0-1, Saviola (min.57')
0-2, Saviola (min. 80')

Saviola puts Barça on right track (0-2)

FC Barcelona are well on course for a place in the quarter finals of the Copa del Rey after beating Alavés 2-0 at Mendizorroza. Argentinian Saviola was on target twice in a game that Frank Rijkaard's side dominated from start to finish.

Barcelona deserved a lot more from a first half that ended goalless, but got their just reward after the break. Saviola, after an excellent move that also involved Ludovic Giuly finally broke the deadlock on 57 minutes. The game was played in unusual surroundings, with the home fans more interested in voicing their discontent with the president Dmitri Piterman than following what was happening on the pitch. And so it was that things went from bad to worse for the struggling second division outfit as the referee sent off Coromina and Saviola put an end to any hopes of an Alavés recovery with his second of the night.

Barça dominance

Barça started the match as they meant to go on, with a series of devastating moves down the wings, and Ezquerro and Giuly brilliantly supported by full backs Sylvinho and Belletti, who both played in unusually advanced positions. Alavés found themselves under constant pressure and were barely able to get the ball out of their half, but desperate defending managed to keep things level for the first forty five minutes. A Xavi free kick onto the home side's bar was the first clear-cut occasion, while Iniesta and Ezquerro both came frustratingly close with long range efforts on 11 and 13 minutes respectively. Shortly after, a delightful one-two set Xavi up with another excellent chance, but Ardouin was able to turn the ball behind for a corner. The only hope Alavés had of doing any damage to the European champions was on the counter attack, and it nearly paid off when Australian international Aloisi saw a dangerous strike go just wide of Jorquera's post.

The goals won't come

The football may not have been the greatest, but the first half hour was certainly played at an electric pace, with Barça piling on more and more pressure without converting it into goals. But after Saviola and Giuly had squandered a couple more chances, the active De Lucas almost put the home side ahead against the run of play, but his 38th minute shot whisked over the bar. The half drew to a close with Alavés gradually coming to realise that the miracle was not going to happen, and the they instead opted to try to kill the game by playing it tight at the back.

Barça finally break through

It was more of the same after the restart, Alavés sitting back and defending as Barça tried in vain to find a way through. Sylvinho was Barça's most effective weapon with his powerful runs up the wing creating a series of opportunities, and it was one of his crosses that set Ezquerro up with a close range header that missed the target. It was not for want of trying, but luck just was not on Barcelona's side as frustration start setting in on a cold evening in the Basque Country.

And the goal finally arrived. It was Saviola, from deep within the Alavés penalty area, who finished off a sweet one-two with Giuly with a diagonal strike that finally put Barça one-up. Rijkaard immediately responded by sending Gio on for Giuly, and moving Iniesta over to the right to make way for the Dutchman in a more central role. And it was from his new position that Iniesta enjoyed his best chance of the night, a toe poke that goalkeeper Ardouin managed to tip behind for corner.

Red card, a goal, and outraged supporters

Gudjohnsen replaced Ezquerro in the 71st minute, but by this point the Vitorian supporters seemed to have lost all interest in the game and were instead dedicating their full attention to the task of jeering their polemic president Dmitry Piterman. Amidst this bizarre atmosphere, Alavés were reduced to ten men when Coromina was sent of for arguing with the referee. The game had fallen apart, and Barça were able to play the final minutes in absolute dominance of their second division rivals, with the second goal coming from a Xavi corner that Márquez nodded on for an opportunistic Saviola to rifle home. Motta came on his the final moments, and almost scored in a game that was done and dusted with Jorquera barely having had a touch of the ball. The home fans simply weren't interested any more, and the referee did the fairest thing and blew the whistle as soon as the ninety minutes were up. With the return leg at the Camp Nou in a weeks' time, Barcelona's place in the last eight looks safe.



Ex Alavés player in Barça B

Barça B midfielder Andrea Orlandi knows all about Alavés. It is his former club and he spoke at length about them to fcbarcelona.cat and Barça TV (spanish version).

Cup returns for 2007

After two months, the Copa del Rey kicks back into action tonight, and Frank Rijkaard's side travels to Deportivo Alavés for the first leg.

Tonight (21:30, TV3/Barça TV) Barça's cup campaign resumes after knocking Badalona out in the previous round. Without Deco or Ronaldinho, Barça will be hoping to exploit the turbulent times at Deportivo Alavés and get a good result in Vitoria ahead of the second leg back at the Camp Nou.

16 players: Just like for the league game against Getafe, Frank Rijkaard has named 16 players for the match, the change being that Motta returns to the squad in the place of reserve player Marc Crosas. Both Deco and Ronaldinho will be rested ahead of the upcoming derby on Saturday. The Barça boss , who has just been named manager of the year by the International Federation of History and Statistics for the second year in a row, wants to take this cup match very seriously indeed, and believes a win against Alavés will be a huge boost to morale.

Starting options and Jorquera: In tactical terms, Frank Rijkaard may opt to stick to the same eleven that he played against Getafe with the only doubts being whether he goes for Motta or Edmílson as a defensive midfielder, and Gio or Sylvinho at left back. But he is almost bound to go for a change of goalkeeper, it having been his preference to play Jorquera in all cup games for the last two seasons.

Internal problems: In fact, it is with Alavés that the main problems lie. The Basque outfit is performing poorly on the pitch and is having all kinds of problems on an institutional level. They are currently seventeenth in the second division, way below expectations, and president Dimitri Piterman has opted for a change of coach this week, bringing in Fabricio González Penelas ‘Fabri' in place of 'Chuchi' Cos. Piterman has also had strong words to say about his players, who he believes are showing a lack of interest and a bad attitude.

Star men: The players to look out for in the Alavés ranks include former Barcelona keeper Roberto Bonano, although his position has been taken by Porato of late, Australian striker John Aloisi and Argentinian midfielder Astudillo, the only survivor of that famous Alavés side that made it as far as the Uefa Cup final against Liverpool, losing 5-4 in a memorable match.

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