Madrid: FC Barcelona's defense of the Spanish Copa del Rey got off to a stuttering start as they were held to a 0-0 draw by third tier side Villanovense in their last 32 first leg tie, Xinhua reported.
Barcelona's French defender Jeremy Mathieu (L) vies with Villanovense's midfielder Curro (R) during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) Round of 32 first leg football match CF Villanovense vs FC Barcelona at the Romero Cuerda stadium in Villanueva. Pic/AFP
Although Barca have the return leg in the Camp Nou to look forward to in order to assure their progress into the next round, the result is still disappointment for Barca, although credit should also be given to their rivals, whose ground holds just 4,000 fans and who held off Barca without too many problems.
Barca coach Luis Enrique decided to rest Luis Suarez and Neymar against the third category side, so with Leo Messi still injured, none of their fearsome attacking trio was in action.
Although Barca fielded essentially a second string side players such as Adriano and Jeremy Mathieu, Thomas Vermaelen and Douglas were in the starting eleven, along with Sandro Ramirez and Munir, who have both played minutes since Messi's injury.
The game itself was a slightly lackluster affair as Barca's young team controlled the ball but failed to create enough clear cut chances against a rival which gave absolutely everything on the pitch.
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