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Camp Nou: Just before the game there was a moment of silence held in memory of Udo Lattek. When it was over and the referee blew his whistle to start the match, the 57,378 spectators started cheering and didn't stop until the very end, becoming the 12th man in an effort to help their team move towards the final of the Spanish Cup. Tonight's was the final match of this competition at Camp Nou and, just like the last three ties with Huesca, Elche and Atlético Madrid, the culers won the first leg.
Pressure: Barça's three strikers, with Suárez out in front, as well as the midfielders, pressed Villarreal and denied them mobility. It was this pressure that gave Barça a 1–0 lead as pressure from Neymar and Iniesta allowed Suárez to steal the ball from Musacchio and dish to Messi for the first goal.
Iniesta: The captain led the team from the first minute. After resting in the last match at San Mamés, the midfielder was a big key both on defence and attack. It was his goal that gave Barça a 2-1 lead in the second half. In addition, his dribbling drew rounds of applause throughout the night. Near the end of the game with the ball at his feet and surrounded by yellow, four Villarreal players could only stop Iniesta by fouling him.
Resilience: The same thing happened Sunday at San Mamés and again tonight against Villarreal. Barça responded quickly to an opponent's goal by getting one right back. Against Athletic Club, Aduriz's goal was answered after just 2 minutes and 26 seconds, giving Barça a 3–1 lead. Against Villarreal, Trigueros' goal and the subsequent score by Iniesta came just 1 minute and 46 seconds apart.
Mascherano: Luis Enrique decided on tonight's line up to get the Argentine midfielder further up field. So it was no surprise that Mascherano dominated play with excellent positioning. His aggressiveness was key to muting Villarreal's dangerous transitions. The fans cheered every time he made a key steal, just as he did on 61 minutes when he came flying in with a brilliant tackle on Cheryshev to take the ball.
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