The FC Barcelona Women’s team say goodbye to the Copa de la Reina (2-0)

MATCH STATS

FC BARCELONA, 2
ATHLETIC CLUB DE BILBAO,0

Athletic Club: Ainhoa, Flaviano, Murua, Iraia, Orueta, Olabarrieta (Arranz 86), Ibarra (Andoiti 89), Erika, Saioa, Guru (Nekane 59), Irene

FC Barcelona: Rfols, Laura, Meli, Ani, Melani, Marta (Ludmila 65), Corredera, Mriam, Viky, Snia, Olga

Goals: 1-0, Guru (37); 2-0, Flaviano (71)

Referee: Beatriz Gil

It wasnt meant to be. The players led by Xavi Llorens were defeated in the semifinal of the Copa de la Reina by Athletic Club, who won thanks to goals from Guru on 37 minutes and Flaviano on 71 minutes. Despite being eliminated from the competition, the team have finished a very positive season, where they claimed the Superliga Femenina and the Catalonia Cup.

The match started off with an excellent opportunity for Athletic Club. In the first minute Erikas shot went narrowly over Lauras crossbar. The Azulgrana response was immediate. On six minutes, Olga had the best opportunity of the first half, but Ainhoa did well to save the one-on-one chance against the Azulgrana striker.

From that moment on Llorens team took control of the match; possession belonged to the Azulgranas and the chances fell to Bara as well, however there were no goals at either end of the pitch. After a couple of minutes of slow football, Erika, once again, came close to scoring the opener from the top of the box. Althetic were on the prowl and they tested Laura Rfols – but the Azulgrana keeper did well to avert the danger.

The Basques take control

Bara, after a good first 15 minutes, slowly ceded control of the match to the Basque team. On 37 minutes, Guru scored the first goal of the game after taking advantage of an Azulgrana defensive error. The teams went to the half with the 1-0 on the scoreboard.

No reward

The second half of the match was marked by Baras dominance from the first minute. The players managed by Llorens were desperate to score the equaliser. From the opening whistle of the second half, the Basque defenders were struggling to contain Baras onslaught. On 17 minutes, after a couple of chances, Sonia had the best chance to bring her team level. Baras number 10 latched onto Carols long pass but she was unable to beat Ainhoa. Bara were coming close to scoring every time they had the ball, but time was running out. Flaviano, however, an Athletic Club player, killed off the match with a beautiful goal on 71 minutes.

No luck

In the last quarter hour of the match Bara went all out, and on the 80th and 82nd minutes, Mriam and Melani both hit the post, the first with a shot from outside the box and the second from a set piece.

Luck didnt smile on the Azulgranas today but the FC Barcelona Womens team have had a fantastic season, where they claimed the Liga and the Catalonia Cup.

FC Barcelona Women’s Team – Athletic Club: Barça’s bid to win its second consecutive Copa de la Reina begins

The FC Barcelona womens football team will play this Friday afternoon in the semifinals of the Copa de la Reina against Athletic Club Bilbao at the Ciudad del Ftbol de Las Rozas. The champions of the Liga will play for a spot in the final at 19:30, the match will be broadcast love on Bara TV. Xavi Llorens players want to win back-to-back titles after last years nail-bitting final where Olga scored the Cup-winning goal in overtime. This year, however, the team have the added confidence of winning the Liga title as they go into the decisive rounds of the Copa de la Reina.

The first minutes are key

The Bara players and the manager agree that the first minutes of the match will be key in Baras bid to qualify for the final of the competition. In the Liga match against Athletic Club, an early goal from the Basque side demoralised the Azulgranas, who were not able to mount a comeback. For this reason, Xavi Llorens said that the key will be finishing out chances, especially at the start of the match. In Lezama we had a terrible start, and against Espanyol its was completely different. If a team takes an early they have much of the match already won, its not decisive but its very important when it comes to morale.

The Azulgrana striker Olga Garca, who scored the decisive goal in last years final, believes that it will be a very difficult match and, therefore, well have to come out and pressure them and be on top of them because they are very technical players. Despite Athletic Clubs quality, they finished second in the Liga this season, the Bara manager believes that all the teams in the competition have a chance to win the title. Furthermore, he added that the remaining teams all have a 25% chance of winning the Cup (Bara, Espanyol, Rayo Vallecano and Athletic Club).

Chance to win the triple crown

If Bara go on to win the tournament on Sunday, it would mean that the FC Barcelona Womens football team would finish the season with a historic treble (Superliga, Copa Catalunya, Copa de la Reina). According to Llorens, this really excites us and were very eager because everything is going in our favour. If we dont win its because Athletic Club played a better game – we dont have the added pressure of winning the treble on us. The manager, and his whole team, is prudent ahead of this afternoons match. The defender Melisa Nicolau said that we have the desire to keep on making history, the season is not over yet, but it will be very difficult. We have to focus on Athletic first and only if we win can we think about the final.

If Bara beat Athletic Club this afternoon, Llorens’ players will play in the final this Sunday at 11:00 against the winner of the RCD Espanyol – Rayo Vallecano SAD match, which also take place at the Ciudad del Ftbol de Las Rozas.

The Barça defender @3gerardpique laments the absence of @Guaje7Villa and @Carles5puyol in the 2012 EURO

This Friday at noon the FC Barcelona player Gerard Piqu held a press conference in the Polish town of Gniewino, where the Spanish national team is preparing for their EURO 2012 debut. The Azulgrana defender admitted that it will be difficult for him to play without Carles Puyol, the man that usually lines up in the middle of the defence with him for FC Barcelona and Spain. Imobviously going to miss Puyol, hes almost a brother. However, there are quality players that can fill his absence. Piqu is aware that the absences of the Bara captain and David Villa, both of whom are injured, are significant for the team managed by Vicente del Bosque. We’re going to miss Puyol and Villa because they are important players for the national team.

No problems with Sergio Ramos

With Puyol out of action this summer, the starting defenders in Spains back line will most likely be Piqu and Sergio Ramos. The Azulgrana defender took the opportunity to rubbish the rumours that he doesnt get along with his Real Madrid counterpart. I get along great with Ramos, everything is always exaggerated from the outside. People also said that I didnt get along with Guardiola all season long and that wasnt true.

Praise for Jordi Alba

In recent days there has been a lot of speculation linking Jordi Alba to FC Barcelona. Piqu was quick to heap praise on the young defender:hes an amazing player, he surprised me. Hes flying in our training sessions, hes small but very fast. He knows how to attack and defend.

Leaders in statistics

Bara will remember the 2011/12 season as the year Leo Messis 50-goal haul won him the Pichichi Award and as the year that Vctor Valds won his fifth Zamora Trophy. However, FC Barcelona also led in many other statistical La Liga categories, both on the individual and collective levels.

Team stats:

The team that conceded the least amount of goals: 29 goals conceded (0.76 per match). Madrid came in second, with 32.

The team that conceded the least amount of shots: 258 (6.79 per match). Madrid came in second with 370.

The team with the second-most goals: 114 goals scored (3 per match). Madrid scored 121.

The team with the most goals scored from free kicks: 5 goals. Mlaga and Betis both had 4 apiece.

Second team with the most shots on goal: 614 (16.16 per match). Madrid shot on goal 713.

Second team with the most corners won: 260 (6.84 per match). Athletic Club finished first with 263.

The team that conceded the least amount of corners: 119 (3.13 per match). Mlaga finished second with 138.

The team that received the second most fouls: 612 (16.11 per match). Mlaga received 642.

The team that committed the least amount of fouls: 382 (10.13 per match). Mlaga finished second with 411.

Second team with the least amount of yellow cards: 82 (2.16 per match). Mlaga finished first with 78.

Individual stats:

Xavi finished the season as the player with the most completed passes: 3,024.

In the passing department: Dani Alves finished third with 2,672 passes, behind Xabi Alonso (2,880).

Messi, the Pichichi, was the player with the second most shots on goal: 198. Ronaldo finished first with 252.

Messi finished the season as the player with the most assists along with Ozil (16)

The Argentine finished the season as the player that received the second-most fouls penalized by a yellow card (22), Navas finished first with 25.

Messi is also that player that attempted the most dribbles (394), far ahead of the second-place finisher Jefferson Montero (312).

Planas extends contract through 2014

The Bara B player Carles Planas has extended his contract with FC Barcelona through the 2013/14 season. The players buyout clause is set at 12 million euros while hes a Bara B player and it will jump to 30 million euros if hes promoted to the first team. The player, accompanied by vice-president Josep Maria Batomeu and director Jordi Mestre, signed his new contract this afternoon at the Camp Nou.

A permanent fixture in Eusebios line-ups

Carles Planas played a total of 32 matches with Bara B this season. He started in 28 of them and came off the bench on 4 occasions. In total, he played 2,444 minutes, he was booked 6 times and he was instrumental in Bara Bs eighth-place finish in the Liga Adelante.

20 years since winning the 1992 league title

This Thursday 7th June is the 20th anniversary of winning the 1991/92 league title, an achievement that was celebrated all the more due to the unusual circumstances surrounding the final triumph. The legendary Bara Dream Team, managed by Johan Cruyff, started the season badly, with a number of unexpected setbacks that meant they trailed the league leaders, Real Madrid, by eight points by matchday 14.

However, that Bara team was destined for glory and gradually reduced the gap on their great rivals, so much so that by the last day of the season the title was still undecided. If Bara beat Athletic Club in the Camp Nou and Real Madrid failed to win in Tenerife, the title would go to Bara.

And thats exactly what happened. On 7th June 1992 a Bara win (2-0, both goals from Hristo Stoichkov), combined with an incredible defeat (3-2) for Real Madrid who were unable to hang onto a 0-2 lead handed the league title to FC Barcelona. In this way, Bara won the league in a season when they had not led the table at any moment before the final whistle! The players on that glorious day were: Zubizarreta, Ferrer, Alexanko, Juan Carlos, Guardiola, (Nadal), Bakero (Julio Salinas), Goikoetxea, Amor, Laudrup, Stoichkov and Eusebio. Bara finished with 55 points, Real Madrid with 54 and Atltico Madrid with 53.

Joint celebration

The players celebrated the title with the fans in the Camp Nou together with the European Cup that they had conquered on 20th May in Wembley. These two trophies made the 1991/92 season the most successful in the history of the Club up to that moment. It has to be said that since then there have been a good many more seasons that have equalled or even surpassed that extraordinary year.

Villa: “Tito was best option to replace Guardiola”

David Villa is facing the final stages of his recovery with just one objective in mind: right now, the only thing I want is to be healthy during the whole year so that I can compete 100% to win a place in the team. I just want to be okay again as soon as possible Ill get my strength back and be ready to join the rest of the squad on July 16th. I did everything I could to get fit for the Euros, but I just ran out of time. I wont be in Poland, but a new season and a new challenge starts on July 16th.

New coach

Villa will return to a squad with a new boss Tito Villanova – somebody he has no doubts at all about: hes the best prepared person to take this challenge on. There was naturally a fear amongst Bara fans that nobody could fill the gap that Pep has left, but there is nobody in the world who could fill that as well as Tito. I think it was the best possible decision and the team will continue to improve as we have been.

Villa also had words of praise for Guardiola: he was the man who placed his trust in me not just the year he managed to sign me, but also before that and I will always be grateful for that. All I can do is thank him for everything he has done for me and the team and wish him all the best for the future.

Possible signings

Asked if he thought the team would be signing a new striker, Villa made it clear : thats a decision that the Club has to take, the Club have to make the plans for next season and decide where we might have a weakness. I know that I am at the best club in the world and I am aware of the competition that exists. Villa also commented on rumours linking his old Valencia colleague Jordi Alba with a move: hes a spectacular player and its not just Bara who would like him. Hes a Valencia player though, and you have to respect that situation, itd be great if he came here as he would be a spectacular player for any team. Id just like whatever is best for him.
Euro 2012

Villa has been a star of the Spanish team for quite a while now and although he will be missing at the Euros, he insisted: Spain have shown why they are favourites. I think there are strikers and midfield players capable of scoring lots of goals and I dont think they will miss me. I owe so much to Bara and I couldnt take any risk of getting injured that going to the Euros might have meant either aggravating my current condition, or pickling up something else that Bara would end up suffering for.

8 jugadors del Barça participaran a l’Eurocopa que arrenca divendres. Afellay jugarà dissabte i els espanyols, diumenge

Matches

Holland
Holland Denmark (Saturday 9 at 18.00.)
Holland Germany (Wednesday 13 at 20.45.)
Portugal Holland (Sunday 17 at 20.45.)

Spain
Spain Italy (Sunday 10 at 18.00)
Spain Ireland (Thursday 14 at 20.45.)
Croatia Spain (Monday 18 at 20.45.)

The Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine kicks off this Friday, with a total of eight Bara players involved. Ibrahim Afellay will be the first of the Club players to get involved, when Holland face Denmark this Saturday at 18.00, whilst Vctor Vads, Gerard Piqu, Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernndez, Andrs Iniesta, Cesc Fbregas and Pedro Rodrguez, are in the Spanish squad to face Italy the next day at 18.00.

Afellay back on form

The Bara players are representing the two finalists of the last World Cup. Holland are in the group of death alongside Germany, Portugal and Denmark, but are still many peoples favourites to take the title. Afellay made a great impression in the Dutch teams last warm up game, getting two goals in the 6-0 win over Northern Ireland and after a season ruined by injury, he really looks to be back to his best and could well be one of the stars of the tournament after his disappointing time four years ago, when he hardly figured at all.
Valds, Piqu and Pedro making debuts

Bara provide more members of the current champions squad than any other and three of the players – Valds, Piqu and Pedro will be making their debuts in the competition.

Only four teams provide more players for the competition than Bara – Bayern Munich (12), Real Madrid (11), Shaktar Donetsk (9) and Dynamo Kev (9).