Xavi Llorens' team will face Athletic Club this afternoon (19:30, Barça TV) in the semifinals of the Copa de la Reina. The Azulgranas have their sights set on their second consecutive Cup title
Melisa Nicolau: "We're very eager to play. It will be a difficult match, but we're sure that it won't be like the match in the Liga"
The FC Barcelona women’s football team will play this Friday afternoon in the semifinals of the Copa de la Reina against Athletic Club Bilbao at the Ciudad del Fútbol 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 Barça TV. Xavi Llorens’ players want to win back-to-back titles after last year’s 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 Barça players and the manager agree that the first minutes of the match will be key in Barça’s 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 it’s was completely different. If a team takes an early they have much of the match already won, it’s not decisive but it’s very important when it comes to morale.”
The Azulgrana striker Olga García, who scored the decisive goal in last year’s final, believes that “it will be a very difficult match and, therefore, we’ll have to come out and pressure them and be on top of them because they are very technical players.” Despite Athletic Club’s quality, they finished second in the Liga this season, the Barça 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 (Barça, Espanyol, Rayo Vallecano and Athletic Club).
Chance to win the triple crown
If Barça go on to win the tournament on Sunday, it would mean that the FC Barcelona Women’s 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 we’re very eager because everything is going in our favour. If we don’t win it’s because Athletic Club played a better game - we don’t have the added pressure of winning the treble on us.” The manager, and his whole team, is prudent ahead of this afternoon’s 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 Barça 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 Fútbol de Las Rozas.