Nov 30, 2016 at 9pm UK at ​Jose Rico Perez, Alicante
HerculesHercules
1-1
Barcelona
Mainz (52')
Pena (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Alena (58')

Live Commentary: Hercules 1-1 Barcelona - as it happened

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique speaks at a press conference ahead of his side's Champions League clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on November 1, 2016
© SilverHub
Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the Copa del Rey last-32 first leg between Hercules and Barcelona.

Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of the Copa del Rey last-32 first leg between Hercules and Barcelona.

The home side currently play their football in Spain's third tier, but they competed in La Liga as recent as the 2010-11 campaign and incredibly recorded a 2-0 victory at Camp Nou during that particular season.

Barcelona, meanwhile, are 28-time winners of this competition and have indeed lifted the trophy in each of the last two seasons.

Nothing will be decided tonight, however, with the second leg to come at Camp Nou on December 21 during what will be a busy period for the Catalan outfit.


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8.31pmEvening all! Sports Mole's live Copa del Rey coverage continues from Alicante as Hercules welcome the holders Barcelona for the first leg of their last-32 clash. It is a big ask for Hercules tonight, but they recorded a 2-0 victory over Barcelona during the 2010-11 La Liga season and will be confident of making this an uncomfortable night for the Spanish champions. Be sure to stick with us for the action!

8.33pmIt was experienced Paraguay forward Nelson Valdez that struck twice for Hercules during their 2-0 victory away to Barcelona in September 2010 to help the Alicante-based team pull off one of the biggest shocks in Spain's top flight. Times have changed since then, however, with Hercules now playing their football in the Segunda B Division and Barcelona still flying high at the top of the Spanish game.

8.35pmRight, before we go any further, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news for this match. Barcelona have the small matter of El Clasico this weekend so I am expecting sweeping changes for a game that the Catalan giants will expect to win whatever team is sent out. Let's have a look...

8.38pmTEAMS:

HERCULES: Buigues; Dalmau, Pena, Roman, Rojas; Pedro, Gaspar, Omgba; Mainz, Juanma, Salinas

BARCA: Cillessen; Vidal, Borja, Umtiti, Digne; Denis, Alena, Rafinha; Carbonell, Alcacer, Turan


8.41pmHercules' leading scorer this season - Chechu Flores - is only on the bench for the home side tonight, but David Mainz and Alvaro Salinas both start in what is an attacking team. Cameroonian midfielder Emmanuel Omgba is also included in the XI, while 20-year-old goalkeeper Ivan Buigues is given the nod between the sticks ahead of regular number one Chema Gonzalez.

8.44pmAs for Barcelona, as expected, Luis Enrique has completely shuffled his pack. There are first-team debuts for Borja Lopez, Carlos Alena and Alex Carbonell, while Aleix Vidal is given a rare chance at right-back after struggling for football this season. Jasper Cillessen replaces Marc-Andre ter Stegen between the sticks and Paco Alcacer is given Luis Suarez's spot through the middle.

Barcelona's coach Luis Enrique shouts from the sidelines during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs SD Eibar at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 25, 2015© Getty Images


8.46pmSo there we have it. The two teams are in and we are now just about 15 minutes from kickoff in Alicante. This is actually Hercules' best run in the Copa del Rey since the 2010-11 season, which was the last time that they competed in the top flight of Spanish football. They dropped to the Segunda in 2011 and have since fallen to the third tier after another relegation in the 2013-14 season.

8.48pmHercules have finished fourth and third respectively in each of their last two Segunda B seasons, and despite losing their last two in the league, they currently sit sixth in the table, just three points off third-place Valencia II. In truth, progressing past this stage of the Copa del Rey will be very tough and their focus has to be on gaining promotion to the second tier once again.

8.51pmAs for Barcelona, in relative terms, the Catalan outfit are also going through a difficult little period. Indeed, back-to-back league draws has seen Luis Enrique's side drop off the pace at the summit and they will enter this weekend's home game with Real Madrid six points behind their Clasico rivals in the table. If that becomes nine on Saturday afternoon, it would be a real disaster.

Lionel Messi of Barcelona in action during the Champions League clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on November 1, 2016© SilverHub


8.54pmThat said, the Spanish champions breezed through their Champions League group once again and victory over Real Madrid this weekend would make things rosy once again. They struggled to a 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad in the league on Sunday night, but this is a different XI and there are a number of players with a point to prove ahead of a busy run of matches. Not long until kickoff now!

8.57pmVictory over Sevilla in the 2015-16 Copa del Rey final handed Barcelona their 28th trophy in this competition, while they also won the 2014-15 final after beating Athletic Bilbao. There is just something about the Catalan outfit in this competition and they will fancy their chances of making a fourth straight final. Right, both sets of players have now joined us on the field in Alicante.

0 minKICKOFF! Hercules kick things off in Alicante...

2 min... not quite a full house inside the stadium, but there is a good atmosphere and Barcelona might have to play very well to win this match. Yes, they are the big favourites. But Hercules are a tidy outfit and certainly have the players to harm the Spanish champions. Here's to a good match-up.

4 minAlena in the Barcelona midfield has drawn comparisons to a certain Andres Iniesta and the teenager has been given the chance to impress tonight. As expected, Barcelona have had the majority of the ball in the opening four minutes as they look to find space in dangerous positions.

6 minIt is a 4-2-3-1 formation for the home side, with Mainz leading the line, and Salinas and Gaspar operating in the wide positions. Still Barcelona pass, pass, pass in the final third, but Hercules are organised in a defensive area and have already had a couple of chances to counter-attack here.

8 minNot an awful lot to report in terms of chances in the early stages of this match, with Hercules making it difficult for Barcelona to play their quick, incisive football in the final third.

10 minBarcelona have a free kick in a dangerous area as Rojas brings Alcacer to the deck...

11 min... SAVE! Super stop from the Hercules goalkeeper to keep out the deflected free kick from Alcacer, which was heading for the bottom corner. First real chance of this game.

14 minGood pressure from Barcelona in the last few minutes as they continue to threaten the Hercules box and for the moment, the home side cannot seem to clear their lines. Still 0-0 though.

16 minJust a reminder that unlike Real Madrid's clash earlier, this is the first leg of this last-32 clash and therefore nothing will be decided tonight. Hercules will want to keep Barcelona honest ahead of the return at Camp Nou next month. For the moment, the Segunda B side are keeping a clean sheet.

18 minMainz is given the chance to run at the Barcelona defence, but the offside flag is raised and an uncomfortable moment for the visitors ends courtesy of the linesman. Still goalless with 18 minutes on the clock and in truth, Barcelona have only come close on one occasion - that Alcacer free kick.

21 minIt has been a busy period for the referee in the last few minutes due to a number of late challenges, but Hercules will not mind as it harms Barcelona's flow in the final third. I expected this to be tough for the Spanish champions, at least in the first period, and that has indeed proved to be the case.

23 minThe final pass is just not there at the moment as Hercules continue to shut the door when Barcelona look to thread that elusive ball. The pressure, however, is increasing on the home side.

25 minSalinas and Gaspar have not been shy in joining Mainz in the final third tonight and Barcelona's much-changed defence does not look too comfortable under pressure. That said, all of the football is being played by the Spanish champions as they continue to pass and probe in the final third.

28 minBarcelona continue to threaten with a couple of corners in quick succession, but clear opportunities are not arriving as Hercules clear their lines time and time again. Still goalless here.

29 minHalf-chance for the home side this time as Gaspar breaks forward, but he fires straight at Cillessen.

31 minHalf-chance for Barcelona this time as Alcacer beats the Hercules goalkeeper to the ball and squares into the box, but Rojas is on hand to make the clearance. It is a very open game with both teams committing players in the final third, although clear chances have been few and far between.

33 minTuran looks to have a problem for Barcelona after controlling the ball with his chest, but the Turkish international does continue, for now. Little bit quiet in terms of attacking football at the moment.

36 minBarcelona have been sloppy at the back on more than one occasion in this first period, but the home side have been unable to really take advantage. Still the visitors pass and probe in the final third, but Hercules are very comfortable as they sit with nine players behind the ball.

38 minBarcelona have had plenty of free kicks in advanced areas, but without Messi, without Neymar, they have wasted them. Denis Suarez delivers the latest and Lopez heads high and wide.

40 minLittle over five minutes of the first period remaining and in truth, Hercules have been pretty comfortable, which is credit to their tactics and shape. Tevenet has got his selection spot on.

43 minRafinha, who is the Barcelona captain tonight, looks to pick out Turan with a deep cross, but it is too strong for the Turkish international and Hercules can resume from the dead-ball line once again.

44 minHalf-chance for Hercules, but Sainz heads Gaspar's deep cross wide of the post.

45 min+1HALF-TIME: Hercules 0-0 Barcelona

9.47pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. Barcelona have dominated the possession and indeed looked the more likely to make the breakthrough, but Hercules have had their moments and have been very compact at the back.

9.52pmBENCH WATCH! First-teamers Andre Gomes and Sergi Roberto are both on the Barcelona bench tonight, in addition to youngsters Cardona and Nili. As for for the home side, Berrocal and leading scorer Chechu are both on the bench. This match could well be decided off the bench tonight.

9.57pm

46 minRESTART! Barcelona resume the action in Alicante...

47 min... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will already have alterations in mind for the second period.

49 minMuch like the first period, Barcelona are dominating the ball, but Hercules are comfortable as they shift across the pitch and close the space. You just get the feeling that the final 30 minutes of this match is where the real test will arrive. Hercules will tire, there is no question about that.

49 minLopez fells Gaspar just outside the Barcelona box...

50 min... SAVE! Cillessen gets down to keep out Gaspar's effort.

52 minNot too much from Barcelona in the last few minutes and Luis Enrique is cutting a frustrated figure on the side of the pitch. The likes of Rafinha, Turan and Alcacer have not stepped forward in the absence of Messi, Neymar and Suarez. However, there is still a lot of football to be played tonight.

52 minGOAL! Hercules 1-0 Barcelona (Mainz)

53 minWow! Hercules make the breakthrough in the 52nd minute of this match as Salinas delivers a dangerous cross towards the far post and Mainz chests the ball home from close range!

55 minBarcelona have a second leg to turn this tie around, but the Catalan side have been poor tonight, there is no question about that. If Hercules can score a second, that would be very interesting!

58 minLittle over 30 minutes of this first leg remaining and Barcelona are pressing without really looking capable of levelling the scores. Andre Gomes is on the bench for the away side, but the likes of Neymar, Suarez and Messi are not involved tonight. Hercules have been very impressive here.

58 minGOAL! Hercules 1-1 Barcelona (Alena)

59 minAll square! Barcelona level the scores just before the hour as Alena, on his debut, arrows one into the bottom corner from distance. It is a wonderful strike from this excellent prospect!

62 minIt has been a good spell for Barcelona in the last few minutes as they move the ball quicker in the final third of the field. Hercules' heads have dropped a tough, but they have still played very well tonight and will surely get chances on the counter-attack as this match continues to progress here.

65 minOdegaard impressed for Real Madrid earlier tonight and Alena has been the star of the show for Barcelona here. Neither player will be involved in El Clasico at the weekend, but the two giants have two excellent young players on their hands. Still 1-1 in Alicante with little more than 25 minutes left.

67 minThe home supporters are doing their best to raise their team as we approach a very important period of this match. Meanwhile, there is some clear moment on the Barcelona bench here.

69 minBARCELONA SUBS! Carbonell and Umtiti are replaced by Gomes and Nili.

71 minHERCULES SUBS! Gaspar and Salinas are replaced by Minano and Chechu.

73 minHercules are more than likely going to be knocked out by Barcelona regardless of the result tonight, but they must take huge belief from their performance when it comes to their battle to escape the third tier of Spanish football. The hosts have been strong all over the park tonight.

76 minAll Barcelona at the moment as they continue to pass and probe in the final third of the field, but clear chances are at a premium as Hercules continue to close the space outside their own box.

77 minBARCELONA SUB! Cardona replaces Alena for Barcelona.

78 minSAVE! Super goalkeeping from the Hercules stopper to keep out Cardona from close range. Almost the perfect introduction for the Spaniard, who is also making his debut tonight.

80 minHERCULES SUB! Goalscorer Mainz leaves the field for Berrocal.

83 minGood pressure from the home side in the last couple of minutes and Turan is forced to clear under pressure from Juanma. Still more than five minutes for one of these teams to find a winner here.

85 minThere has not been a single yellow card in this match, and there have been some tasty challenges to say the least! I may well have just cursed it and we will see a flurry of cards late on.

86 minOmgba has just gone down with cramp after getting through some serious work tonight.

88 minWell, it does appear that Hercules are going to hold Barcelona tonight, which at least keeps things interesting ahead of the second leg at Camp Nou next month. It is easy to see why Hercules are going well in their domestic league this season - they have matched the Spanish champions here.

90 minA stretcher is called as Hercules midfielder Ingles goes down in his own box, but the number six is soon back on his feet and should be able to continue for the final minutes of this match.

90 minBOOKING! Pena (Hercules) is booked for a foul on Vidal.

90 min+2We are into the second of four added minutes at the end of this match.

90 min+4Barcelona boss Luis Enrique will make 11 changes to his team for El Clasico, but the Spaniard cannot be overly impressed with what he has seen tonight. Alena has been a real positive, but the likes of Turan, Alcacer and Rafinha have struggled to make their mark in the final third here.

90 min+5FULL-TIME: Hercules 1-1 Barcelona

10.51pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with the two teams level at 1-1 ahead of the second leg at Camp Nou next month. Hercules can be proud of their performance tonight against a Barcelona team that must now switch their attention to El Clasico on Saturday afternoon! Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again! Until next time!

Jason Davidson of Australia acknowledges the fans after being defeated by Spain 3-0 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Australia and Spain at Arena da Baixada on June 23, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Madrid13103036112533
2Barcelona1383233141927
3Sevilla138322418627
4Atletico MadridAtletico1373328111724
5Real Sociedad137242214823
6Villarreal136431910922
7EibarEibar136342016421
8Athletic Bilbao136251716120
9Celta Vigo136252123-220
10Las PalmasLas Palmas135442421319
11Malaga135442119219
12Espanyol134631717018
13AlavesAlaves134451316-316
14Real Betis134271425-1114
15Leganes134181125-1413
16Valencia133281724-711
17Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo132471323-1010
18Sporting GijonSporting Gijon132381227-159
19Osasuna131481226-147
20Granada130581129-185