Flash flood emergency: at least one dead amid heavy disruption
Five missing and dozens evacuated as heavy rains hit Catalonia
Five missing and dozens evacuated as heavy rains hit Catalonia
Barça stay just one point adrift of top spot in La Liga after beating Levante to the tune of five goals to no reply in Sunday’s game before 74,963 spectators at the Camp Nou. FC Barcelona make it eleven wins in a row with goals from Neymar, Suárez and a Messi hat trick.Luis Enrique made eight changes to the team that started midweek against Villarreal, with Suárez, Jordi Alba and Piqué among those on the bench. The manager had said in his pre-match press conference that this would not be as simple a game as some suspected, and for much of the first half that did indeed prove to be the case.
Barça put five past Levante in Valencia on Sunday evening, with Neymar, Rakitic, Sandro, Pedro and Messi all on target. FC Barcelona has obtained 12 points from 12, 11 goals scored and none conceded for Luis Enrique’s team, who’ve made an impressive start to their three game week, with Malaga and Granada next up. Barça beat Llevant to continue both their unbeaten record and keep yet another clean sheet, which Luis Enrique feels “goes to show even more our idea of playing as team … Rather than singling anyone out in particular, I’ll just say that I was happy with all of them.”
This is going to be a key week for FC Barcelona as they will have three Spanish League matches in seven days. From Sunday 21st September through Saturday 27th, Luis Enrique's squad will have nine points in play, the same number of points that were on the table through the entire first month of the season. Barça is set to visit Levante (Sunday 21), Malaga (Wednesday 24), and then host Granada (Saturday 27). FC Barcelona won't have to play three Liga matches in one week again until the month of April, when they will have to do it not once but twice. From now until then Barça's midweek schedule is loaded with other competitions, namely the group stage of the Champions League and the Spanish Cup.
Barça want to leave this weekend's 2-3 defeat to Valencia behind. The match presents a good “opportunity to vindicate the team” declared FC Barcelona’s Manager Tata Martino on Tuesday. Martino called up all available players, but he must cut four players from the squad before kick off, scheduled this Wednesday at 10 pm CET. Catalans and Basques will duke it out for a spot in the final of the Copa del Rey, a competition the Blaugrana recently won in 2012 and 2009. On paper the tie looks fairly levelled despite the 4-1 result from the Spanish League match between the two sides. Both Barça and Real Sociedad, since the new year, have practically identical records.
The Blaugrana fought back from a one-goal deficit to secure a spot in the penultimate round of the Copa del Rey thanks to this Wednesday evening’s 5-1 scoreline against Llevant (also called Levante). Reaching seven Spanish Cup semi-finals in eight years isn’t something a lot of teams can achieve, but Barça have done it. The intense rain that fell on Barcelona wasn’t an obstacle for Adriano, Puyol, Alexis (2) and Cesc, all of whom got on the scoresheet against the Valencia-based side. Llevant took the lead but at the 27th minute Barça drew thanks to an extraordinary shot from Adriano from long range. Despite the weather the Catalans were playing their usual style of football and the second goal was scored by Puyol.
Barça once again take on Llevant (also called Levante) after the 1-4 from the first leg of the Spanish Cup quarter-final tie. It will be the third showdown between to two sides in ten days. Throughout the competition Tata Martino has had a policy of rotating players into the starting team for Cup matches, and it doesn’t look like there will be an exception tonight. Iniesta, Puyol, Song and Montoya are back in the squad, while Xavi, Busquets and Alves didn’t make the team. If Barça make good on the result from the first leg, it will be the team’s seventh semi-final Cup berth in eight years (they were eliminated in the quarter-final round in 2010).
Three goals from the Catalan and an own goal from Juanfran give FC Barcelona a 1-4 victory at the Ciutat de Valencia. Leo Messi assisted Tello all three times. Three goals for the Catalan – his first hat trick in the FC Barcelona strip – finished the game and perhaps the quarter-final tie. FC Barcelona bounced back from this weekend’s draw in the Spanish League as they comfortably defeated Levante in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals. They did it despite having to deal with a very similar match to the one played this Sunday. Now, Barça and Levante will close out the three-game series next week on Wednesday, January 29, at the Camp Nou (22:00 CET).
Martino’s take on Llevant (also called Levante) at the Ciutat de Valencia for the Spanish Cup match after drawing with the Valencia-based side three days ago in the League. The Blaugrana return to scene where they drew 1-1 with the Llevant side, but this Wednesday evening, Tata Martino’s men will try to get a good result ahead of the second leg of the Cup tie at the Camp Nou. The FC Barcelona manager named 18 players to the team for the match. Dani Alves, who missed this weekend’s game against Levante due to suspension, and Carles Puyol made the team. Piqué, Montoya, Cuenca (technical reasons), Iniesta, Neymar Jr, Afellay, Dos Santos and Oier (injured) did not make the team.
Unlucky Barça drop two points at the Ciutat de València (1-1) in a game where they deserved more. The first of the three games FC Barcelona play against Levante over the next ten days ended in a draw. Barça had the chances, particularly in the second half, but an inspired performance from the home keeper Keylor Navas meant the points were shared, with Vyntra opening for Levante early on and Pique equalising soon after. With nine changes form the team that started in the Spanish Cup against Getafe midweek, Barça made it clear from the start who was going to be dominating possession, whilst Levante were happy to sit back and take any chances that came their way.
Tata Martino’s Barça has exploded into the Spanish League campaign with a stunning recital of football and goals. A sublime performance. The players followed the roadmap laid down by the new Argentinean coach during his first few days: possession, moving the ball swiftly, pressure up field and verticality in recovery. Levante was so overwhelmed in the Camp Nou that after just 25 minutes they were already losing 4-0. And 6-0 at halftime. A record. Barça dominated the entire 90 minutes and swept to victory with goals from Alexis, Messi (2), Alves, Pedro (2) and Xavi.
FC Barcelona’s 2013/14 Liga campaign begins on Sunday, playing at home in the Camp Nou (19pm CET) in a match against Levante. Barça have won 14 of their last 20 Liga openers and there are plenty of reasons to feel confident that Barça will get off to another positive start. Last season, in Tito Vilanova’s first game in charge, Barça stormed to 5-1 victory against Real Sociedad. Puyol, Messi (2), Pedro and Villa got the goals that night.
Two goals from Leo Messi in reply to an early opener from Barkero gave Barça the win against Levante to keep the Catalans just four points behind the Spanish League leaders, Real Madrid, which won against Sporting de Gijón. Attention now switches to Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final against Chelsea, with the clásico against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou next weekend on the horizon.