Staying invincible all through a football season is not an easy task and despite the firepower of Barcelona, they were finally beaten on Wednesday night by Catalan rivals, Espanyol.
Hard as Lionel Messi and the rest of the Barcelona stars tried, they ended as 1-0 losers in the first leg of their Copa del Rey clash against Espanyol.
Though it is quite hurting for the players and the coach that their cherished record has been thrown out of the window, they are more than ready to make amends in the second leg billed to take place at the Nou Camp.
FC Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, spoke to the press following the disappointing outing in Cornellà.
While he is understandably disappointed, he said he hopes to set things straight when the action resumes next Thursday at the Camp Nou.
“I liked my team a lot” he said. “They had a good attitude and had the game under control, but we didn’t manage to convert the many chances we had. In turn, Espanyol defended well, corrected their mistakes and took their chance.”
“I congratulate them and we’ll meet again in a week’s time.
“I hope to see the Camp Nou like it was the day against Celta, with the fans behind the team and helping us to mount a comeback. It’ll be a nice game.
“The Messi penalty may have been the turning point tonight. But the team had never been threatened all game apart from a few dead ball situations,” he said.
The players also shared their thoughts on the outcome of Wednesday’s game.
“We still have the game at Camp Nou to win and qualify,” Gerard Piqué said
On his part, Sergio Busquets submitted: “We had a good first half and controlled the game. The second half was more competitive and Espanyol were better on the counter.”
He added: “One day the defeat had to come. The positive is that the second leg is at home and we will try to come back.”
Wednesday’s defeat ended Barcelona’s amazing 29-match unbeaten run.