Copa Del Ray Review: Round of 16 (time bound)

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Brendan Taylor

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  • Copa Del Ray Review: Round of 16 (time bound)

Copa Del Ray Review: Round of 16

The first leg of the round of 16 in Spanish Copa Del Ray was played on Tuesday. Three matches were played on the day, among six teams, including the Spanish champions Barcelona who played against Athletic Bilbao. However, it was not a great day for the fans as the matches ended with the draws.

Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao are the two most successful teams in the history of Copa Del Ray. Barcelona has won 25 titles while Bilbao has been successful on 23 occasions. These two teams also faced each other in the tournament final in 2009, which was won by Barcelona. The match was played at Camp Nou which meant that Bilbao would not have an easy outing. However, the match was a disappointing affair for the Catalans as it ended with a 0-0 draw.

Barcelona came into this match with an amazing average of more than four goals in the last seven matches. The Catalans had been on a great scoring run and the fans expected another goals-galore in this match. Also, Pep Guardiola, the manager of Barcelona, did not give rest to his key players, as Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Pedro started the match for their team. Apart from this, Lionel Messi and David Villa came as substitutes in the second half but even they could not produce the winning goal for the Catalans.

There were a lot of chances created by the Catalans but the finishing was not provided by the forwards. Bilbao goalkeeper, Gorka Iraizoz, was kept busy during the first and the second half and he did well to save a point for his team. Andres Iniesta, Villa, Gerard Pique, Bojan Krkic and Pedro had their chances but they were kept away from scoring. In the end, Bilbao managed to keep a clean sheet, and a lot of credit goes to their defence. They have an upper hand in the affair as the second leg would be played in their backyard. However, no one can write Barcelona off because they have the strength to overcome a team like Bilbao.

Another important match played on the day was between the Yellow Submarine, Villarreal CF, and Valencia. This was an affair between the third and fourth placed sides in Spanish La Liga, with Villarreal enjoying a comfortable lead in the third spot. The hosts Valencia must be feeling disappointed after the match because they were also unable to take advantage of the home leg. They created a lot of chances but Aritz Aduriz, Pablo Hernandez and Ricardo Costa failed to make the chances count while Juan Manuel Mata hit the post.

On the other hand, Villarreal did not have a lot of chances while Nilmar missed an easy chance towards the end of the game. The match remained scoreless and it turned out to be another disappointing affair for the fans. In another match, Cordoba, a team from Segunda Division and Deportivo La Coruna faced each other. It was the only match with a couple of goals scored but the match ended with another draw, with the final score of 1-1. Deportivo took the lead in the opening half, scoring from a penalty kick. Cordoba leveled the match in the last 20 minutes of the second half, from a free kick. Apart from these two goals, there was not much in the game with both teams struggling in hard conditions, because of heavy rain.

The remaining matches will be played on Wednesday and Real Madrid would also be seen in action. The second leg of the round of 16 would be played in the first week of next month, which gives a lot time to the clubs to prepare for the decisive second leg.

 

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