Soccer

Martino wants Barca to close out games quickly

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP)

Barcelona's inability to close out games is coach Gerardo Martino's main preoccupation ahead of the Copa del Rey first-leg semifinal against Real Sociedad.

The Spanish champions surrendered an early lead to lose 3-2 against Valencia on Saturday, when the team's intensity noticeably dropped after half an hour. The defeat left Barcelona out of first in the league for the first time this season, three points behind Atletico Madrid.

Martino says ''when we're in control of games we have to close them out. Usually when the team starts with a quick goal we end up winning by two or three goals. I'd like to think we won't trip up like that again.''

Barcelona has won 16 straight games against Sociedad at its Camp Nou Stadium.

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