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Copa del Rey: FC Barcelona 3-0 FC Cartagena: Match Review

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A recap of Barcelona's 3-0 second leg victory over Cartagena that sees the Catalan side progress to the next round of the Copa del Rey

David Ramos

After Barcelona's 4-1 comeback victory in Cartagena the second leg was seen as a mere formality. And it proved to be as such as the visitors weren't able to mount a history comeback at the Camp Nou. Barcelona spent most of the game in the attacking third, and they had three goals to show for it. Pedro scored in the first half while Cristian Tello and Neymar added markers in the second to secure Barcelona's progression by an aggregate score of 7-1. In the Round of 16 Barcelona's opponent will be Getafe.

FC Barcelona

FC Cartagena

Possession

85%

15%

Total Shots

26

4

Shots on Target

7

0

Fouls

15

12

Offsides

2 4

Yellow Cards

1 2

Red Cards

0 0

Surprisingly, Gerardo Martino decided not to call up any of the Barcelona B team players, saying that it's a sign of respect to name first team players in the squad. In attack, Cristian Tello made a rare start, while Sergi Roberto started in the midfield alongside Cesc Fabregas. Adriano Correia returned to the starting line-up after serving a suspension during the weekend. Making his first appearance in front of the Camp Nou crowd since 12 March 2013 was Carles Puyol, who formed a center-back pairing with Javier Mascherano.

Cartagena started the game from midfield, but it was Barcelona who immediately took control of the ball and quickly earned a corner kick. Nothing came from the kick, but it was a sign that Barça wasn't going to allow Cartagena get anything going, unlike in the first leg. The first real scoring chance came in the 4th minute when Tello was played through by Cesc, but George Savu saved the young winger's attempt. Sergi Roberto then wasn't able to head the rebound on goal.

But despite the strong start Barcelona struggled to consistently make its way through the congested space in front of Savu's penalty box. Two lines consisting of nine players in white and black were constantly behind the ball so the Catalans were forced to take a couple tries from long range - with no success. Adriano's effort from 30-yards whistled just wide of the net and a couple free kicks were blocked by the wall. Just after the 20 minute mark Neymar headed one on goal from near the penalty spot, but Savu controlled the ball with ease.

There was no sense of urgency in attack for Barcelona, and with a 4-1 lead from the first leg that was slightly understandable. However, in the 26th minute they very nearly found themselves once again down a goal to Cartagena. Mascherano was called for a questionable foul on the left edge of Jose Manuel Pinto's box. Eric Lopez set himself up for the kick and brilliantly curled it to the far side, only to be denied by the post.

Maybe that and a subsequent chance that was whistled for offside caused Barcelona to wake up after the little lull because in the 31st minute Pedro opened the scoring. After a few flowing moves the ball came to Martin Montoya, who brilliantly threaded it in between three defenders to a wide open Pedro, and from there Pedro made no mistake.

After the goal Barcelona once again couldn't get near the Cartagena goal as a result of the defensively excellently organized visitors. As an attempt to circumvent the lack of space, several players, including Montoya, Cesc and Neymar all tried their luck from well outside of the box, but none of the attempts even tested the goalkeeper. At the stroke of halftime a chance presented itself to Montoya, after he was brilliantly played through by Neymar. Instead of having a go at goal from not the best of angles Montoya tried to find Pedro in the middle, but the forward was well covered, so the scoreline at halftime remained 1-0 in favor of Barcelona.

The second half started with no substitutions and with Barcelona continuing to dominate possession. Quickly the hosts created a couple half-chances, but a couple good blocks by the defense and a well positioned Savu on Cesc's long range shot prevented the early celebrations.

The Cartagena defense then gathered itself and tightened ranks, making chance-creation frustratingly difficult for Barcelona. Cartagena, meanwhile, rarely ventured forward, but the Barcelona defense held its ground on those rare occasions, even if they didn't make it look pretty. In one of those not so pretty plays Puyol even earned a yellow card for handling the ball.

Barcelona's second half pressure finally paid of in the 68th minute when Tello became the benefactor of a fortuitous bounce. Played behind the right-back by Neymar, Tello was looking to pass to ball to the middle, but it was deflected on goal, just out of reach of Savu, whose slight touch by the toe wasn't enough to prevent the ball from crossing the line.

15 minutes before the end Tata Martino gave Cesc and Pedro some rest, and replaced them with Andres Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez. Four minutes later Adriano took his place on the bench as he was replaced by Jordi Alba.

Just when it started to look neither team was going to make a run for goal, in the 88th minute, Neymar decided to get on the scoreboard. The play was created by Iniesta who crossed the ball to the edge of the six-yard box where Neymar's towering header resulted in the game's final goal.

With the 7-1 aggregate win Barcelona secured a place in the Round of 16 where they will face Getafe, the same team Barça will play on Sunday in the last match of the year 2013. If Barcelona want to end the year at the top of La Liga they will probably have to win by a large margin as Atletico Madrid is right on Barça's tail.