Barça keen to banish the ghosts of Figueres, Novelda & Gramenet
Quique Setién's second game in charge sees Barça travel to Ibiza, anxious to avoid Copa del Rey upsets from the not too distant past.
At the beginning of the 21st century, Barça were only too keen to add to the romance of the single cup format with embarrassing slip-ups for the club to lower league opposition with the likes of Rexach, Van Gaal and Frank Rijkaard manning the Barcelona bench.
In recent times, the Catalan club have established themselves as undisputed 'kings of the cup' with 30 titles to their name and victors in four of the last five competitions. However, the period of time between 2000 and 2005 was a dark shadow for the club in the competition.
Figueres, Novelda and Gramenet are all names of clubs that still send a shiver down the spines of Culés with copa elimination in the 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2004-05 seasons respectively.
The first setback came at Vilatenim, home to Figueres with the added incentive for Barça that year of the final of the copa being held at the Santiago Bernabéu to coincide with Real Madrid centenary anniversary. A goal from Kali Garrido in extra-time was enough for the home side to cause an upset for a Barcelona side missing the likes of Gabri, the injured Sergi, Abelardo, Luis Enrique and Cocu with the likes of Rivaldo, Christanval, Frank de Boer, Reiziger and Kluivert on international duty with their respective national sides. At the time Figueras were operating on a budget on one million euro per season with Barça's budget that of 150 million.
The following season, a trip to 2B outfit Novelda saw the Catalan side go ahead 0-1 on the night but fell 3-2 on the night with head coach Van Gaal pragmatic after the elimination: "These things happen" with the coach keen to put some of the culpability.
With Dutchman Frank Rijkard on the Barça bench, the Catalan giants made the short journey to Gramenet on October 27th (2004) with the minnows winning by a solitary goal netted bu Olles in extra time.
Times have changed and the attitude towards the Copa del Rey as a competition to take seriously has also undergone change at the Catalan club but 2B side Ibiza will be quietly that their names cab be added to the existing trilogy.
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