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Copa del Rey: FC Barcelona 9-0 CE L'Hospitalet: Match Review

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Tello was one of the best performers of the game.
Tello was one of the best performers of the game.

Football just looks simple sometimes doesn't it? Barcelona bossed, monopolized, outplayed, dominated (I could add more, but I think you understand where I'm going with this) Hospitalet. When all was said and done Barcelona found the net nine times and it could have been much worse for the third tier Catalan club. But let's start at the beginning.

Even with the lead from the first leg, albeit a small one, Pep left nothing to chance in the return match as he fielded the strongest possible lineup. As has been the case more and more often Barca started with a three man backline, with Carles Puyol on the right, Gerard Pique in the middle and Andreu Fontas on the left.

With this lineup there was only one way this game was going to go and it went pretty much as expected. Barcelona's dominance was so clear that L'Hospitalet barely saw the ball, but after ten minutes the hosts didn't create anything worth mentioning, Hospitalet, however, had a half chance, when Angel headed the ball just wide of the post. After the ten minute mark, however, Barca created chance after chance.

The first one came when inside the box Isaac Cuenca cut past Bahdeh Moussa and the defender slightly pulled the young winger resulting in the referee pointing to the spot. Pedro stepped up and calmly sent the keeper the wrong way. The dominance continued and it quickly showed again on the scoreboard. In the 19th minute Xavi played the ball to Cesc Fabregas who beat the offside trap and while one-on-one with the keeper set up Andres Iniesta to his left who powered it in from two feet out.

Just four minutes later it was 3-0. The Hospitalet keeper played a short free kick to Sergio Castano who inexplicably tried to run the ball past Thiago. Thiago won the ball cleanly and found himself all alone in front of Carlos Craviotto who closed down the space well, but after a quick dribble the young midfielder created enough room to finish with aplomb.

A scary moment occurred close to the half hour mark as Andres Iniesta and Craviotto went after a 50-50 ball and the keeper appeared to get the better of both the ball and Spain's World Cup hero. The physio crew signaled for a substitution and pointed to the hamstring. Iniesta was indeed replaced by Sergi Roberto, but as of the writing of this review there is no update on his status.

Iniesta's injury didn't rattle the team, however, and after 35 minutes we were just one goal from a manita. This time Xavi was played through and he fired first time past the keeper and into the back of the net off the post. The manita was completed just seven minutes later by Cristian Tello who replaced Xavi soon after the midfielder scored his goal. The play started with Hospitalet taking a corner kick that Thiago cleared to Tello who was well into his own half on the left side when he received the pass. The winger ran with the ball unchallenged across the whole pitch and calmly beat the helpless Craviotto.

Tello, who was clearly on a mission to show Pep he is a very talented youngster, was brilliant on the left wing in the second half. He was making one dangerous run after another and in the 48th minute his low cross found Cuenca who fired across goal to make it 6-0. In the 53rd minute Cuenca won Barcelona another penalty, this time he was brought down by Lucas Viale. Thiago took responsibility this time and he too sent the keeper the wrong for yet another Barcelona goal.

Soon, however, it was 8-0. Sergi Roberto played the ball to Tello who was allowed some space on the wing and when he came within 10 yards of the goal he side footed the ball in cheekily curled the ball past Craviotto. After seeing the replay the commentator said that reminded him of the one and only Thierry Henry, and I have to agree that the finish was certainly reminiscent of the great Frenchman.

At this point Barca very much took the foot of the gas pedal, which allowed Hospitalet to create a few chances, mostly from set-pieces, but the hosts were still able to find the back of the net. In the 81st minute Fabregas found Cuenca all alone on the right side of the box and after a couple steps Isaac beat Craviotto to the far side and made in 9-0, which proved to be the final score. Barcelona did have a couple chances to reach double figures, but it wasn't meant to be. At this point it is worth mentioning that despite allowing nine goals the Hospitalet goalkeeper, Craviotto, had a good game and saved his team about five goals.

With the 10-0 aggregate victory over Hospitalet, Barcelona advance to the Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey. Who will be Barcelona's opponent is unknown, because the draw hasn't been held yet.

By scoring nine goals in today's game Barcelona broke another record. The team broke Real Madrid's record of most goals scored in a calendar year, which stood at 167. The mark now stands at 170.

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