Barcelona suffered their first defeat of the season and it was Quique Sanchez Flores, the coach that Stoke wanted, who masterminded it. Five months after being beaten by Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup Barcelona were beaten 1-0 in this Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg.
They rode their luck at times, but with Diego Lopez saving a second half penalty from Lionel Messi – remarkably the 23rd he has failed to convert in his career – they grabbed a winner on the night through 20-year-old homegrown kid Oscar Melendo with two minutes left.
“We tried to do what we always do, dominate the game and make them play on our turf,” Ernesto Valverde said after tasting defeat for the first time as Barcelona manager.
“They defended well and were clinical in that move, at the end of the day it’s a question of being clinical, now we have to bounce back.
Some suggested that Lionel Messi’s missed penalty proved to be a turning point in the game.
“Possibly, I don’t know,” he replied. “Sometimes you have the feeling that you suffer more because of the atmosphere than the chances.
“Our goalkeeper didn’t have to intervene much, they waited deep and closed the spaces down, it cost us but we had the game won and we weren’t clinical with our chances.
“The penalty same woke the fans up.
“Valverde insisted that he is happy with his team and insisted that they can turn the game around.
“I liked my team because they had a good attitude, the pitch was hard to combine everything,” he said.
“We tried to do what we know and there are things you have to accept, they defended and ran and we congratulate them.”
We await them at the Camp Nou. The favourite in a knockout is the team which is winning.
“It’s not a good result because we haven’t scored here, we know that if they score at the Camp Nou we will have to score three.”