Martino relieved after Barca win

Madrid, Dec 7: FC Barcelona coach Tata Martino breathed a sigh of relief following his side’s 4-1 win away to Cartagena in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie.

Going into the game Friday night against a team two divisions below them and on the back of two defeats which have set alarm bells ringing, Barca fell behind to an early goal but were able to turn the scoreline around before half time thanks to goals from Pedro Rodriguez and Cesc Fabregas, reports Xinhua.

Although there was no Lionel Messi, who is recovering from an injury in Argentina, Xavi Hernandez or Andres Iniesta, Barca welcomed back Jordi Alba to the side after almost 10 weeks.

The final score virtually assures Barca’s place in the last 16, although there is the formality of the return leg to be played.

“We came into the game on the back of two successive defeats and were obliged to win,” said the Barca coach after the match.

“Cartagena were very intense and showed a great attitude, especially in the first 15 to 20 minutes, but the way we were able to move the ball around well tired them out and you could say that it was very much a game of two halves,” continued Martino.

“My team’s performance was correct, we played with humility and also knowing where we came from,” he added.

IANS