Hercules Too Strong For Barca
Barca fans are used to historic events at Camp Nou Stadium, but the one that took place on Saturday afternoon won't have pleased them one bit. Despite their name, the newly-promoted Hercules CF from Alicante are far from giants of the footballing world and anyone with any sense would have predicted an easy run out for the Blaugrana... but the Blanquiazules (as they known) were in a heroic mood. With their back four denying the likes of Villa and Bojan any room for manoeuvre, and their hard-working midfield in the mood, they disrupted Barcelona's famous passing game to restrict their chances. And in Nelson Valdez, their newly-signed Paraguayan striker, they clearly had a man capable of hurting their illustrious hosts. He was the first to react after the Barca back four failed to clear a Hercules free kick, and his stunning strike in the 59th minute was like a club to the head of a footballing Titan. It was 2-0 Hercules and Barcelona were felled.
Coach Pep Guardiola had chosen to rest several of his stars, including Alves, Pedro and Xavi but the jury is still out as to why the Barcelona football machine failed to perform. Did they miss Ibrahimovic? Are they over-reliant on Xavi? Or was it a classic case of underestimating that most dangerous of beasts - a newly-promoted side at the start of the season. Our guess is the latter, and Barca will remain favourites when they take on Panathinaikos Athens in the Champions League.