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11.11.2008 13:23

Shocks only in one-leg ties

Jesús Carrillo

Barça’s first home game in this season’s Copa del Rey is against Second B Group III side Benidorm. The visitors will be looking to spring a surprise, but giant-killing feats are a rarity in games played over two legs.

FC Barcelona have won more Spanish cups than any other team (24), and Guardiola’s quest to add another title to that list started with a narrow 1-0 win away to Benidorm. It would be a major shock to see the lower league outfit get anything out of their visit to the Camp Nou.

QM3D0870.jpgLast year, Barça faced another small club from the Alicante region, Alcoyano, and won 5-2 on aggregate. The year before that, Frank Rijkaard’s side was drawn against neighbouring Badalona, and also sailed into the next round.

Wins and losses

Under the current system, FC Barcelona usually enter the cup in the round of 32, getting a bye due to their participation in European competitions.

But until not so long ago, cup matches were played as single-legged affairs, and with the lower ranked side always enjoying home advantage, a system that often led to First Division outfits suffering at the hands of far less glamorous clubs.

Novelda, Figueres and Gramenet

Ronaldinho.jpgTwo fine examples were away to Novelda, in the 2002/03 season, and Figueres, one year later. Louis van Gaal and Carles Rexach respectively were on the bench as Barça crashed out of the cup at the first time of asking. In 2003/04, Barça learned the lesson, and won away to Gramenet, but made heavy going of it, the only goal of the game being a late strike from Ronaldinho.

A year later, however, Barça faced the side from Santa Coloma once again, and lost. Despite that shock exit from the cup, Rijkaard went on to lead the team to his first Spanish championship.
Shocks only in one-leg ties
Fewer problems over two legs
With a two-legged system, Barça have never had major problems dealing with lower league opposition. Gimnástica de Torrelavega, Orihuela and Zamora have been disposed of with relative ease, as were Alcoyano and Badalona in the last two editions. Other sides that Barcelona have knocked out early on since the turn of the century have been Polideportivo Almería, Ourense, Gandía and Ceuta, be that over one or two legs.

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