Cesc after scoring Barça's second on the night / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

2012 has started and FC Barcelona are still hungry. Up against a brave Osasuna side in the first leg of the last 16 of the Spanish Cup, Guardiola's team won comfortably, 4-0, at the Camp Nou. The match was pretty much decided in the first 20 minutes, in which Cesc scored the first two goals of the year for Barça. Then, in the second half, Messi rounded off the win with a header and a shot into the corner of the net, both goals unstoppable. Sublime: the King of Kings.

With this scoreline, which could have been even greater, Barça take a very good lead into the second leg, to be played next Thursday, 12th of January in Pamplona (22.00). Before that though, they will be thinking about Espanyol in the League (Sunday 8th, 21.30).

Incredible pressure

The first 10 minutes of football in 2012 weren't that easy for Barça. Under extreme pressure from Osasuna, who had no qualms about chasing the ball into Pinto's area over and over again, Barça had trouble getting out of their own half. Osasuna started with their defence really high up the pitch, faithful to the principles of their manager, Jose Luis Mendilibar. Few teams had started like that before in the Camp Nou. However, after the initial parenthesis, the scoring began.

Xavi distributes, Cesc scores

Throughout this first part of the game, the Barça central defenders, Puyol, Pique, and Mascherano, formed a new three-man defense, and hardly lost a single ball. That, coupled with the brilliant changes of play, allowed Barça  to begin to dominate the game, and they began to create chances in Riesgo's area. With the first shot between the posts came the first goal, 1-0, after a great pass from Xavi to Cesc, who made no mistake. The second goal was very similar, again developed by Xavi's vision, and finished off by Cesc, with a perfect chip over the keeper. 2-0 in the 18th minute.

After that, Osasuna, unable to cover all the holes in midfield, managed to weather the storm until the break, mainly thanks to their goalkeeper Asier Riesgo, really decisive in two one-on-ones with Thiago and Puyol. Barça went in at the break totally on top.

Messi comes on ... and scores twice

In the second half the FC Barcelona monologue continued. Messi, who recovered just in time from a bout of flu, came on and truly lifted the Camp Nou. The team, influenced by the atmosphere, responded with a flurry of football like only they can play. Chances came, one after another, in Riesgo's area, but he managed to avoid conceding a third until Messi said enough is enough, with a header in the 72nd minute.

In the closing stages, when Osasuna went in search of a goal that might give them some hope in the tie, the Argentine superstar popped up again. Messi never fails, and placed a well directed shot out of the reach of the keeper, to end the scoring, in injury time. The Kings have arrived early, and they are wearing Barça colours.

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