Copa Del Rey 2013: Why Barcelona Will Rebound vs. Malaga

Ryan DavenportContributor IJanuary 16, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 16:  Leo Messi (2ndR) of Barcelona FC celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Cristian Tello (R), Andres Iniesta (3dR), Alexis Alejandro Sanchez (2ndL) and Thiago Alcantara during the Copa del Rey Quarter Final match between Barcelona FC and Malaga CF at Camp Nou on January 16, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The first leg didn't go as planned, but there's no reason for Barcelona to panic now.

That's because with the most talented group in professional soccer, beating Malaga, who sits a full 24 points behind them in La Liga, shouldn't be a problem.

Yes, this isn't league play, and Barcelona didn't look their best against a squad that was diminished to 10 men after Monreal was given a red card late in the match, but this collection of players won't be sent home in the Quarterfinals.

There's a reason this club has yet to lose in league play this season, and that's because they boast some of the world's best at every position and play a brand of soccer that perfectly suits them.

As the defending champions of the celebrated Spanish tournament, Barcelona deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt, and it's not as if this squad hasn't bounced back from adversity in the past.

Last year, during their Semifinal clash with Valencia, the two clubs played to a draw during the first leg, but Barcelona fought back to take a decisive 2-0 win and carried that momentum into the Final against Athletic Bilbao and never looked back.

This year, Barcelona has steamrolled the competition until now, and though Tito Vilanova should be somewhat concerned about failing to win the first leg on the club's home pitch, especially after giving up the tying goal in the 90th minute, he shouldn't have any doubt that Lionel Messi and company will come back with a vengeance on January 23.

In fact, as Keeghann Sinanan of reported following the match, despite the end result, Barcelona actually controlled play for much of the match, and could've been leading by more after Messi tied the game in the first half:

Messi showed great determination to win the ball off Weligton, and wasted little time in running through to bend home the equaliser.

And within seconds of the restart, the Catalans stormed ahead, when Thiago’s corner was headed home into the far corner with great purpose by Puyol.

It could have been 3-1 shortly before half-time, but Sanchez once again failed to find the target from a Tello centre, this time spooning embarrassingly wide at the far post.

Barca continued to look the better side in the second half, and a stinging drive from Messi forced Carlos Kameni into an unorthodox save with his legs.

Ultimately, it wasn't meant to be, as Ignacio Camacho found the back of the net off a corner in the match's dying seconds, as Malaga became only the fourth team this season to win or draw against Barcelona. 

Despite the draw at home, Barcelona will advance to the next round, because with two of the year's Ballon d'Or finalists, not to mention countless World Cup and European Championship winners on the roster, they have too much firepower not to go through.