FC Barcelona News: 2 February 2012; Barça Draw in Copa del Rey, Referees Remain Hot Topic

Exactly how I felt after the missed penalty.

Messi misses spot-kick in Copa draw - Yahoo! Eurosport
Lionel Messi failed to score a penalty as Valencia and Barcelona drew 1-1 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final at the Mestalla. Messi saw his spot-kick saved in the second half as Barcelona - the most successful club in Copa del Rey history, having won the tournament 25 times - had to settle for a draw after Carles Puyol’s header had cancelled out Jonas’s opener.

Guardiola: "This is the best game we've played here" | FC Barcelona
The manager declared that tonight’s match "was the best game we’ve played here." He went on to say that this was the game that Valencia, who always make it difficult for Barça, "that they created the least amount of chances" since he took charge of the Barça helm. Guardiola also said that "beyond the stats we once again played very well on a very dry pitch and that’s always hard."

Barca await Guardiola contract decision - Yahoo! Eurosport
Barcelona are in the unusual position of having drawn their last three matches as they prepare for Saturday's home league game against Real Sociedad and Pep Guardiola's unwillingness to commit to a new contract is not helping settle jangled nerves. "The sooner the better," Rosell said on Tuesday when quizzed about the issue. "That would always be a massive boost, it would be great," he added.

The best Puyol amongst us | FC Barcelona
Two weeks ago when Barça was losing at the Santiago Bernabéu, Carles Puyol showed up to rescue FC Barcelona, tonight was no different as he scored the leveller at Mestalla. In this case, it was Cesc not Xavi -on the bench tonight- that took the corner kick that the captain headed in. It’s a goal worth its weight in gold and it bring Barça one step closer to the Cup final.

Mascherano: "The tie is in our hands" | FC Barcelona
Javier Mascherano was one of the footballers that talked to the press after tonight’s match: "it’s a good result but it could have been better seeing how the game played out. We played against a great rival and we had good chances. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in. The important thing is that we played a good match and we created scoring chances."

Guardiola currently La Liga’s most experienced boss | FC Barcelona
After the departure of Manolo Preciado as manager of Sporting Gijon, Pep Guardiola has become the manager of a Primera Division team with more consecutive games managing the same team. Preciado led Sporting in 232 consecutive games, whilst Guardiola has been in charge of Barça for 220 matches since the 2008/09 season.

Barcelona's Gerard Pique: Claims too much emphasis is placed on officials, turning football into a "circus" - Goal.com
Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique looked to sway attetention away from the officials following his side's 1-1 draw in the Copa del Rey semi-final against Valencia. Speaking to AS.com the Spanish international said: "We are putting more importance on the referees than we are on the player. We're turning this into a circus."

Barcelona's Seydou Keita: The road is now rougher for Mali at the Afcon - Goal.com
Mogakolodi Ngele gave Stanley Tshosane’s side the lead before Garra Dembele and Seydou Keita scored vital goals to put their team into the quarter-finals. The Barcelona player spoke to Goal.com after the game, and was open about his role in the Malian national team with respect to the criticism he has received of late.

Mirandés' miracle run in the Copa del Rey captures Spain's imagination - Sid Lowe - SI.com
The miracle continues. In the 91st minute, Ander Lanbarri reached a long, hopeful ball into the penalty area and, on the turn, hit a perfect shot into the far corner. 1-2. Mirandés had got one back against Athletic Bilbao and it was no more than it deserved. Athletic had taken a 2-0 lead with two from Fernando Llorente in the first half and had three clear chances wrongly ruled out for offside too.

Jose Mourinho and Real should win La Liga but the race isn't over just yet -- Graham Hunter - ESPN
Not so. If Mourinho plays his hand poorly right now and decides to seek out and punish dissenters, J. Edgar Hoover-style, chaos could result. If the Portuguese is shrewd and serves his revenge dish cold -- that is, after the season is over -- then Madrid is not only well-placed, it should be uncatchable.

Ramos slams FA after ban - Yahoo! Eurosport
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos took to Twitter to criticise the Spanish FA's decision to uphold a one-match ban for his sending off against Barcelona. "I respect that referees can make mistakes but I cannot understand how, after seeing video evidence that shows clearly that my action did not merit a card, the Committee can uphold a ban.

Villarreal's Nilmar yet to agree personal terms with Sao Paulo - report - Goal.com
Nilmar's proposed move to Sao Paulo is on the verge of collapse because of the player's inability to agree personal terms with the Brazilian outfit. Cash-strapped Villarreal have already accepted a bid believed to be in the region of €8 million for the player and the transfer was expected to have been concluded by now.

Zaragoza release centre-back Fernando Meira after injury-plagued spell - Goal.com
Zaragoza have announced on their website they have terminated the contract of Fernando Meira. The 33-year-old defender signed for Zaragoza in the summer with hopes of reviving his career after enduring a frustrating spell at Zenit St. Petersburg.

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