Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cordoba v Barcelona: Hosts face likely relegation

SoccerNews in La Liga 30 Apr 2015

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Barcelona defender Marc Bartra knows his team cannot afford to take their eye off the ball ahead of Saturday’s trip to doomed Cordoba.

The Catalan giants begin a massive UEFA Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich – the side who thrashed them 7-0 at the same stage of the 2012-13 competition – at home on Wednesday.

But before that comes a Liga clash at Cordoba where defeat could deal a hammer blow to their title hopes. Table-toppers Barcelona lead arch-rivals Real Madrid by just two points with four matches remaining. And rock-bottom Cordoba have everything to play for also, knowing failure to win will see them relegated.

So despite the distraction of the Bayern clash, Bartra has called for focus.

He told the club’s official website: “The best thing for us is to focus on the next game.

“That’s what the coach [Luis Enrique] preaches and it’s the best thing we can do. We’ve been that way all season and it has brought us here – alive in all three competitions.”

Barcelona will contest the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao at the end of May.

Luis Enrique’s men are 15 games unbeaten, with their last defeat coming against Malaga in February. Since then, they have won 14, scored 41 goals and conceded just eight times.

Their last four wins have seen them keep clean sheets and Bartra is hopeful of more of the same.

“Our lines are much tighter [at the moment], which keeps us on our toes and gives us a better shot at winning,” he added.

Barca’s latest success saw them thump Getafe 6-0 with both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez netting doubles.

Forward Neymar also scored in a match that Luis Enrique said his side were ‘unstoppable’ in, as Barca’s much-vaunted front three took their combined total of goals this season into three figures.

Cordoba enter the match in awful form, without a win in 16 matches since January 12.

They lost 1-0 at Levante on Tuesday and it is little wonder they find themselves 11 points adrift of safety with four matches remaining.

Barcelona beat Cordoba 7-0 on aggregate in the 2012-13 Copa del Rey and their meeting earlier this season brought another comfortable success.

A 5-0 win at Camp Nou in December was notable for Suarez’s first Liga goal. The Uruguayan has netted another 12 since.

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