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Iniesta, celebrant el gol. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ (FCB).

In the three previous seasons, Barça have always taken it seriously when facing an opponent from a lower category in the first round of the Cup, and this year, at Hospitalet, was no exception. There would be no excuses. Barça started on the right foot in the knockout tournament, offering an immaculate image, especially in the first half, and won the match thanks to a goal from Iniesta, one of the twelve first team players that Guardiola had available.

Winning Mentality

Prior to the game Guardiola insisted that his players would again give a lesson in behavior against a team from the second division B and he wasn't wrong. They took the game very seriously, dominating and attacking throughout the first half against a timid Hospitalet outfit. Villa (min 8), Keita (min 19) and Cesc (min 26) were the first to bring decent saves from the keeper, Moragon. Fabregas, arriving late into the box, and the rookie Tello, down the right wing, were a nightmare for the home defence.

Iniesta breaks the deadlock

At the other end, the Barça rearguard (with Dos Santos playing well at right-back) only suffered a little at the start, while the midfield of Keita, Xavi, and Iniesta, found themselves very comfortable on the artificial turf of the Nou Municipal stadium. Barça's attack was fluid. Iniesta opened the scoring in the 42nd minute with a sensational shot from the edge of the area right into the top corner. The non-conformist, and impeccable, attitude of the Barça players was evident in the very next move, when the team kept pressing and Puyol's header hit the post.

Total Barça control

The level of intensity dropped a little in the second half, but the trend continued: Barça kept working hard, and controlled the situation, always looking at the opposing goal, but their aim was less certain. A Cesc shot lacked a little precision when he got on the end of a good ball from Keita (min 65). The visitors kept attacking, without causing Moragon any serious problems. David Villa was Barça's most incisive player.

Rafinha debut, Pinto appears

In final moments Rafinha made his first team debut, the 21st home-grown player that Guardiola has picked, and Pinto left his mark on the game with a spectacular save from an Aday shot, the best chance that Hospitalet had (min 81). It was the last throw of the dice from a worthy opponent. Barça, serious from beginning to end, take home an advantage that they can ratify at the Camp Nou.


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