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Barca looks to avenge Hercules loss, equal record

 FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi from Argentina, left, duels for the ball against Almeria's Modeste M'bami during during the Copa del Rey soccer match at ...
 FC Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, left, duels for the ball against Almeria's M�chel Macedo, from Brazil, during during the Copa del Rey soccer match at ...

Spain Soccer Copa del Rey

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi from Argentina, left, duels for the ball against Almeria's Modeste M'bami during during the Copa del Rey soccer match at ...

Spain Soccer Copa del Rey

FC Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, left, duels for the ball against Almeria's M�chel Macedo, from Brazil, during during the Copa del Rey soccer match at ...

Barcelona heads to Hercules on Saturday looking to avenge its only league loss this season with a record-equaling win that will maintain the pressure on second-place Real Madrid.
Hercules stunned the two-time defending champions at the Camp Nou stadium in September when Nelson Valdez's double gave it a 2-0 win. But Barcelona rebounded from that defeat with a club record run of 28 games without defeat, and can now equal Madrid's 1960-61 record streak of 15 straight league wins with a victory at Hercules.
Pep Guardiola's side has outscored opponents 33-4 to win all nine of its away games and is coming off its fifth 5-0 victory of the season after routing Almeria midweek in the Copa del Rey.
Despite Barcelona's great play, Hercules coach Esteban Vigo thinks his team can repeat the upset.
"According to the sports talk shows, we probably don't have a chance, but I am convinced that is not the case," Vigo said.
Hercules is 12th in the standings and capable of both the best and the worst. In addition to beating Barcelona, the Alicante side has also downed Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, but it has lost by the score of 3-0 five times and hasn't netted a goal in back-to-back losses.
The game should provide goals with Hercules' David Trezeguet up against Barcelona's strike trio of Lionel Messi, David Villa and Pedro Rodriguez, who are in excellent scoring form with a total 44 goals in league action.
But Sergio Busquets, who extended his contract with Barcelona until 2015 on Thursday, said the impressive numbers don't matter.
"We are interested in what we have achieved by the end of the season, not the statistics or the records," the Spain midfielder said.
On Sunday, Emmanuel Adebayor could make his Madrid debut against Osasuna, a team that has only lost once at home.
Madrid barely edged Osasuna 1-0 in the first encounter this season, and the Pamplona side is always tough with its fans behind it.
Jose Mourinho's team has been grinding out hard-fought victories and has won its last two games 1-0 thanks to winners from the much-questioned striker Karim Benzema.
Benzema has not provided the scoring punch to fill in for injured striker Gonzalo Higuain with only two goals in the league, and Mourinho's calls for another scorer were finally answered with the arrival of Adebayor on loan from Manchester City.
Madrid will have to hope its new signing will not create distractions in the locker room because Barcelona will most likely take full advantage of any slip up.
"Barcelona are playing fantastic football at the moment but you never know in football," the Togo international said. "We just have to wait for them to lose points and go ahead of them. We just have to give everything and see."
Sunday also features a meeting between the two surprises of the league when third-place Villarreal is at fifth-place Espanyol.
Espanyol has won eight of nine games at the Prat-Cornella stadium this season and has not felt the loss of injured striker Pablo Osvaldo in two straight victories.
The "Yellow Submarine" has won four of its last five and is playing some of the most attractive attacking football in Spain.
Elsewhere, sixth-place Athletic Bilbao looks for its third straight victory in its trip to seventh-place Atletico Madrid.
Also it's: Mallorca vs. Sporting Gijon, Malaga vs. Zaragoza, Levante vs. Getafe, Real Sociedad vs. Almeria, Deportivo La Coruna vs. Sevilla, and Racing Santander vs. Valencia.


Updated : 2021-05-10 12:51 GMT+08:00