Elche 0 Barcelona 4 (Barcelona win 9-0 on aggregate)
Catalan giants Barcelona confirmed their place in the last eight of this season's Copa del Rey as expected last night, with an unflattering 9-0 aggregate dismissal of last season's sixteenth-placed La Liga side Elche. Los Franjiverdes (the green-striped ones) were already facing a five goal deficit after the first leg of their cup tie with Barca and the second leg proved to be no more encouraging to their home supporters.
Luis Enrique fielded an essentially experimental side including six Barcelona B players, but they proved no less cohesive on the night, establishing a three-goal cushion by half-time which Adriano added to with a headed goal to in the dying seconds of the match. They took the lead on 21 minutes from Jeremy Mathieu's splendid free-kick and their advantage was doubled five minutes from the break when Sergi Roberto fired in an unstoppable second. After they had been awarded a penalty minutes later for a foul on Adama, Pedro stepped up to covert the spot-kick to make it three. The second-half was plain sailing for the Spanish and Champions League contenders with the tie long since decided.
Barcelona will face an intriguing cup match next time out, as they challenge La Liga title holders Atletico in the quarter-finals, after their convincing two-legged defeat of last season's cup winners Real Madrid. The first leg on 21st January will see Barca host the tie at the Nou Camp in a repeat of the league fixture last weekend that the home side took 3-1, which was a setback to Atletico's hopes of retaining their La Liga crown. Barca are in fine form at present, having lost only once in their last fifteen matches so with Real already out, may now see themselves as favourites for the cup this season.
Enrique will feel that his squad will have benefitted from being able to rest many of their top names last night, with no need to risk Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez and the rest. In truth, their opposition was never likely to challenge their superiority last night as it became little more than a training exercise, with Elche's priority being league survival as they too changed their personnel around notably from last weekend. #Celebrities #Football