Football

Enrique laments poor first half

COPA DEL REY

HERCULES BARCELONA
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(David Mainz 52) (Carles Alena 58)

Barcelona laboured to a 1-1 draw at Segunda Division B side Hercules in the first leg of their Copa del Rey fourth-round tie yesterday morning (Singapore time).

With El Clasico on the horizon this weekend, manager Luis Enrique made the expected sweeping changes for the trip to Alicante.

However, the visitors found themselves behind early in the second half when David Mainz bundled the ball in at the far post.

Barcelona soon equalised through a long-range effort from midfielder Carles Alena - his first goal for the club - on 58 minutes, but could not manufacture a winner.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique admitted that his team were far from their best.

Barca have now won only two of their past six matches in all competitions and face the prospect of dropping nine points behind Real in La Liga this weekend.

"As much as I'm not happy, we tried to create problems for a team who changed their system to put five players in defence," Enrique said, as quoted by Mundo Deportivo.

"We struggled in the first half, we were pretty bad. In the second half, we created more chances and could have won, but the tie is open and you have to wait for the second leg." - WIRE SERVICES

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