PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Barça will be going back to Andalusia in the next round of the Copa del Rey. After a comfortable win on Thursday night against Cordoba they have qualified for the last eight in emphatic style. That means they’ll be meeting Malaga three times in a fortnight, once in La Liga and twice in the cup. Jordi Roura, managing the side for the fourth time this season, picked cup regulars Pinto, Mascherano and Villa in his side, plus Song, Montoya and Sergi Roberto, who have only missed a game each to date. Alves, one of the five FCB players named in the FIFA World XI was also in the starting eleven.

Thiago halts Cordoba pressure

Cordoba made a brave start and applied plenty of early pressure. However, the first real chance of the night fell to Alexis following a delightful pass from Cesc, but the Chilean’s effort was turned behind for a corner by visiting goalkeeper Saizar. Barça started playing the ball around with ease and creating more and more occasions. After 16 minutes, Song laid on a perfect assist for Thiago and the Barça striker read the visiting keeper’s advance to perfection and broke the deadlock with his first goal of the season.

Villa brace takes season total to ten

Moments later, David Villa delighted the fans with a brilliant piece of individual skill. Following some dazzling control on the goal-line he used the inside of his right foot to surprise Saizar and slot the ball inside the near post. In the 25th minute, he added his second, and Barça’s third, to take his overall tally for the season up to ten.

Sergi Roberto and Villa injured

After the break, Bartra came on for Puyol, and Tello replaced Cesc. The downside to the night was injuries suffered by Sergi Roberto and Villa. The youngster left the field just moments after the second half had got under way, and was heartily applauded by the 37,607 spectators as he left the pitch, and then in the 78th minute Villa also made an early exit clutching his thigh.

Alexis regains scoring touch

But it wasn’t all bad news. The changes to the side gave Alexis the chance to play at centre forward for the first time in three months, and he didn’t disappoint. He first headed home a Thiago cross and followed that up by latching onto a loose ball in the six yard box and slamming home the second of two goals that will do wonders for his confidence.

Following the excellent 2-0 win in the first leg, this was not an easy game for the players to work up their typical motivation, but once again they demonstrated their ambition and dedication to the cause. No matter what the occasion, the Barça players never let their supporters down.