12 January 2012

Osasuna-FC Barcelona: Pamplona, first

Barça visits the Reyno de Navarra with the goal of defending their 4-0 lead. As a precaution, Dani Alves will miss the match, Iniesta and Maxwell for technical reasons.


Even though many consider Barça’s passage to the next round as a foregone conclusion after the 4-0 at the Camp Nou, FC Barcelona will undoubtedly face an uncomfortable match tonight. With Madrid looming in the quarterfinals, Barça must first overcome Osasuna at the Reyno de Navarra, an impregnable stadium since April. Barça boss Josep Guardiola knows this and issued a warning to his team ahead of the Cup tie, “there is still work to be done.”

Passage must be secured without Alves or Iniesta. The Brazilian felt discomfort in his right leg in the last training session and has been left out of the squad as a precaution. Guardiola explained on Wednesday that Iniesta would not travel to Pamplona because finished the game against Espanyol (1-1) with discomfort in his ankle. His place on the team, and Maxwell’s, who could be transferred to PSG, will be taken by Barça B players Cuenca, Montoya and Sergi Roberto.

If the match seems like it will be uncomfortable, that’s because it will be. It’s a good rule to measure match difficulty by. Everyone outside of the Club believes FC Barcelona is already in the next round. However, past experiences demand prudence. A year ago, in the same Cup round against Betis (playing in Segunda A at the time), Barça, despite the 5-0 from the away leg, went 2-0 down at the start. The game ended 3-1 for Betis. No one has forgotten how close Betis came to knocking out Barça, the players have learned their lesson.

It’s also worth noting that Barça will face a very eager Osasuna. Osasuna hasn't scored any goals while conceding 12 at the Camp Nou this season, the Navarros will be motivated to exact a certain level of payback on the Catalans this evening. Furthermore, Mendilíbar’s men have not lost at the Reyno de Navarra since Aprtil 17th. However, the Osasuna manager will be without the injured Echaide, Rubén, Roversio, Damián, Raitala, Masoud and Kike Sola; Andrés Fernández, Sergio, Annunziata, Timor, Ibra and Nino will miss the match for technical reasons. Mendilíbar has named six reserve players to his squad for tonight’s match (Satrústegui, Postigo, Hermosa, Torres, Loe y Omwu). (via FCBarcelona.cat)