Abidal plays like a king (1-1)
During 90 passionate minutes at the San Mamés stadium in Bilbao, Abidal scored his first ever goal for FC Barcelonaqualifying the team for the quarter finals of the King Cup. FC Barcelona will meet either Getafe Football Club or Betis in the next round.
Bilbao (FCB).- The two teams that have won this tournament the most times offered a highly anticipated football feast at the San Mamés stadium in Bilbao. There was no emotional or intense end but rather two great goals on a memorable night of cup football. Although it was a tight affair, Barça was in control. Extra time loomed until Abidal struck in the 75th minute. It is his first time to score in his 130 club appearances It looked like the goal had done the trick, but a late Llorente goal brought about a nail-biting finale.
FC Barcelona will have to wait and see whether they play Getafe or Betis, but they already know that the first leg will be next week at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona.
Guardiola\u2019s side with Puyol and Iniesta on the bench were astute from the start. The play was fast and the passing perfect. FC Barcelona put on a strong defense against Athletic Bilbao in their own half during the first quarter of an hour, in which Villa had a great chance to open the scoring against Iraizoz.
But despite the promising start, Barça gradually started losing possession to an increasingly more confident Bilbao. Although for the first 20 minutes, Barça kept 70% of the possession, things changed and it became a more head to head affair with Athletic Club producing some dangerous counter attacks.
Half time came with no real chances for either side and extra time looking increasingly likely. Barça suffered the most just after the restart when Athletic, buoyed by their ever vociferous fans, pinned them back in their own half for quite some time. But the assault didn\u2019t last and in the last half hour, Barcelona were back to their former glory, perhaps not coincidentally due to Iniesta being sent on. Barça\u2019s hour had come, and also the goal.
History for Abidal
Villa was causing constant headaches for the home side, dodging cleverly between the corpulent Ustaritz and Ocio, who were being worn out by the Asturian. Messi was also blazing, and it was he who laid on the assistance for Abidal to make it 1-0 in the 75th minute. The Frenchman, who moved to full back following the entry in play of Iniesta (who took over the central role played until then by Busquets), came in from behind to beat Iraizoz with an unstoppable strike.
It was his first goal for Barça and came moments after he was hit by an object thrown from the stands. Llorente creates suspense But just like Guardiola had warned, games at San Mamés are never over until the final whistle is blown. Just when it looked like it was all over, Llorente scored a terrific goal from inside the area to put matters on a knife-edge. Another goaland the Basques were going through.
However, Barcelona ended up benefiting from the away goals' rule. Afellay was sent on for his Barça debut in the thick of some of the most intense football the side has faced this season, but the spirit showed through and Barcelona, on the eve of King\u2019s Day in Spain, were able to provide their fans with their first gift of the holiday!
0-1, Abidal (min 75)
1-1, Llorente (min 85)