Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Adriano
(Dani Alves 60'), Piqué, Abidal, Maxwell; Iniesta, Mascherano (Xavi
46'), Keita; Messi, Bojan (Pedro 46'), David Villa. 4-3-3.
Hércules: Calatayud; David Cortés, Abraham Paz, Pamarot, Peña; Fritzler, Abel Aguilar; Nelson Valdez (Kiko Femenia 65'), Tiago Gomes (Tote 74'), Drenthe (Sendoa 62'); Trézéguet. 4-2-3-1.
0-1. 27. Valdez. Bundled ball past Valdes after keeper saved from Abraham Paz.
0-2. 58. Valdez. Got on the end of Tiago Gomes cross to turn shot past keeper.
Yellow cards: Mascherano 19', Trézéguet 41', Adriano 41', Drenthe 42'.
Still only the second weekend, but we have already had what must be the shock result of the season, Hércules beating Barcelona 0-2 on Saturday evening. Guardiola's side only dropped two points at home over the last twelve months, but they were well and truly beaten by the newly promoted team, who could have won by a bigger margin in the end.
With ten of his squad playing in Buenos Aires midweek, and a Champions League match coming up in a few days, the coach decided to put out a much changed line up. But after Bojan missed an easy chance early on, they fell behind when Nelson Valdez played the ball back in to the net after Valdes could only push out an effort form Abraham Paz following Drenthe's long free kick.
Piqué went close a couple of times, but at half time Guardiola decided to ring the changes, bringing on Xavi and Pedro for Bojan and Mascherano, who had picked up a booking on his debut. Xavi fired a shot over the top soon after the restart, but another counterattack from Hércules ended with Tiago Gomes crossing in for Valdez to score his second of the evening.
After that Calatayud did well to save from Messi, Villa, Pedro and Iniesta, but the better chances fell to the visitors, with Valdes having to be at his best to keep out efforts from substitutes Kiko and Sendoa, and Trézéguet shooting at the keeper with the goal at his mercy. You could just put this down to the "FIFA virus", but this may be a more difficult year for the Blaugrana than everyone expected.