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Michelle Ackermann

Michelle Ackermann

Born in South Africa, soccer has always been a part of my life, and was pretty much ingrained in my genes. Journalism is my second love in life, and what better way to combine my two favorite things in life than to write about the one thing I am most passionate about. I follow the New York Red Bulls religiously, but have a deep passion for La Liga. This passion is part of the reason why I have moved to Barcelona to pursue my dream of becoming a sports broadcaster.


TANGENTS

Another ‘El Clasico’ Awaits As Copa Del Rey Quarterfinals Are Set

Written by on January 12, 2012 | 1 Comment »
Posted in Barcelona, General, La Liga, Osasuna

In the first meeting between Barcelona and Osasuna, played last week, FCB cruised to an easy victory with two goals each from Messi and Fabregas. With such a comfortable lead, it was no shock that Guardiola chose to rest his starting eleven, and opt for a mixed squad.

Iniesta and Alves had not travelled to Pamplona for the match, while Keita was on international duty in Mali for the African Cup Qualifiers. Unlike the first meeting, the Barcelona lineup would be sans Puyol, Alves, Busquets, Xavi and Fabregas. Instead, the lineup included Fontas, Montoya, Adriano and Roberto, while Pep chose to play Alexis as a substitute for Fabregas, but keep Cuenca and Pedro up top as he did in the previous match.

As much as one may have expected Barcelona to run circles around Osasuna, as they comfortably did in the first round…it seemed as though the tide had changed. Even though Osasuna would have to score at least four goals to possibly eliminate Barcelona, they entered the field with passion; exposing the weakness in the Barcelona defense, with Pique and Abidal left fumbling as Osasuna kept attacking. The midfield seemed a mess, with Barcelona players all over the field, looking uncertain; one of the main differences to the formation had been that Guardiola chose to move Mascherano from defensive left to center midfield. Although one need never question Guardiola’s motives; this is a move that may baffle some as the defense seemed stronger with Pique and Mascherano as opposed to Pique and Abidal, to be fair, it certainly seemed that way in the last match against Osasuna.

The first half saw the fighting spirit of Osasuna, and determination paid off as Lekic found the net in the 40th minute, highlighting the poor defense displayed in the first half. The stats reflected Osasuna’s willpower; having created double the amount of goal opportunities than Barcelona in the first half.

As the team emerged for the second half, they seemed more focused; the squad seemed more unified, and merely three minutes later, Alexis Sanchez would equalize for Barcelona with a beautiful header in the 48th. Messi, who entered the field in the 57th, would assist in the second goal for Barcelona, this one in the 72nd coming from Sergi Roberto.

Barcelona comfortably controlled the rest of the game, and would solidify their spot in the quarterfinals where they are set to face Real Madrid, in yet another ‘El Clasico’ to be played on January 18th, at the Bernabeau.

Real Madrid and Barcelona have met 29 times in the “Copa Del Rey”; Barcelona victorious in 14 of those, unsuccessful in 10 and drawing in the remaining 5.

The other teams who will face off in the quarterfinals are Espanyol v. Mirandes, Atletic Bilbao v. Mallorca and Valencia v. Levante.

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One response to “Another ‘El Clasico’ Awaits As Copa Del Rey Quarterfinals Are Set”

  1. Ed Gomes says:

    I wonder if Pep will field an all Cantalonian lineup.
    On a serious note, Mourinho has already dismissed the Coppa. Unfortunately for him, he won’t be able to do that due to his opponent. The fans will want an all out effort, so we’ll see if Mourinho goes for it. He’s the type of guy that could ignore them. The only problem with that is that if there wasn’t any added pressure to win the Liga and CL, there would be now. It seems impossible for Real to have any added pressure to win the CL.
    As for Barca, Pep has fiddled plenty and not all due to injuries. Their defense can be had, especially if “midfielders” have to start at the back. It really takes away from the continuity of the midfield. Granted having Xavi controlling the ball and player movement makes it all seem possible.
    Let me add that I think Villa’s injury will really hurt them. Not so much on the field but in the pocket book. I believed the rumors of him and his hefty wage headed out this winter, which would allow for a “big” signing. Villa and Pep have been at odds about his role.

    Espanyol will advance. They are once again in the hunt for European play, even with a negative goal differential, but the Coppa would be special. Is an all Cantalonian final possible, and if so has it happened before? Going to have to check that.

    Since we speaking about separatist, Bilbao has to be thrilled about its season so far. We’ve seen the bottom fall out, but they should advance here.

    I admit that I haven’t paid much attention to Valencia, and was surprised to see them 3rd. Speaking of surprises, newly promoted Levante is in 4th, after sitting up top for a while. There home record is impressive, so if they are able to keep that up Europe is a possibility.

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