Barcelona reach King’s Cup quarters


BARCELONA, Reuters

Uninspired Barcelona reached Spain’s King’s Cup quarter-finals after a goalless draw against third division Gimnastica Torrelavega in a third round, second leg, on Tuesday.

Barcelona made the last eight 1-0 on aggregate thanks to Brazilian forward Rivaldo’s goal in the first leg.

Gimnastica, who had eliminated first division opposition in the last two rounds, gave a highly accomplished first half performance as they more than held their own against Barcelona in an almost empty Nou Camp stadium.

The Catalan side dominated the early exchanges and monopolised possession in the first half-hour, but were unable to break down the third division side’s well-organised defence.

Barcelona’s only scoring opportunity in the first half came from a Frank de Boer free kick after 24 minutes. The Dutch international’s 30-metre curler was tipped on to the bar by the alert Gimnastica keeper Gonzalo.

The modest Cantabrian club grew in confidence as the half progressed and were unlucky not to take the lead in the 39th minute.

Forward Mario Bermejo outpaced Emmanuel Petit and beat keeper Jose Manuel Reina only to see his shot hit the post and spin across the face of the goal.

The entry of substitute Marc Overmars in the second half finally brought some life to the stale Barcelona attack.

After a series of dangerous darting runs he created a chance for Gerard in the 53nd minute. But the Spanish international could only hit the post with his powerful header.

Barcelona coach Serra Ferrer resorted to bringing on Rivaldo for the last 30 minutes, but he too was unable to inspire the home side.

In the last 10 minutes it was Gimnastica who nearly forced the game into extra-time.

Lively forward Chili broke through the Barca defence, but could only stab his shot into the arms of Reina. Bermejo then saw a fierce drive tipped over the bar by the young Barcelona keeper.