Wounded Barca ready for Pana

BY foxsports • September 13, 2010

Promoted Hercules caused one of the biggest upsets in recent Primera Division history after claiming a 2-0 win over two-time reigning champions Barca at the Nou Camp on Saturday. That was Barca's first home league defeat since May 2009 - when a second-string side lost 1-0 to Osasuna with the Catalan giants having already clinched the title - and the home fans did not hide their displeasure as the players left the field. However, Barca have a swift chance to make amends as they are back in action at the Nou Camp tomorrow, when Pep Guardiola's side begin what they hope will end up with a successful return to Wembley stadium next summer. Barca won the first of their three European Cup crowns at the old Wembley stadium back in 1992. Striker David Villa felt the Hercules match was an "accident" that they should not dwell on, telling El Mundo Deportivo: "I think that's the right word (accident), above all at this stage of the season. "It's something else if it had been in the Champions League or further on in the season, but in the second week you could say it was an accident that can be rectified. "It's already forgotten, (although) we need to analyse the things that we did badly so that they don't happen again in the future." He added: "I'm sure we are not going to go through many situations like the one against Hercules." Looking ahead to the Champions League, which Villa will be playing in for the first time in two years having this summer moved to Barca from Valencia, the Spanish World Cup winner said of his side's hopes of lifting the title again in London: "We need to take it step by step. "The first thing is to beat Panathinaikos. It's important to start well because the group phase is not like a regular league. There are a lot less games and a slip-up can really complicate things." Although he still sent out a strong side against Hercules, Guardiola omitted some of his senior players for the match with one eye on the visit of Pana and it could be that Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Carles Puyol and Dani Alves will return to the first XI. Panathinaikos warmed up for their daunting trip to Spain - where they have lost on 10 of 11 previous visits to the Iberian nation, drawing the other - with a 1-0 away win over Aris Thessaloniki on Saturday, Djibril Cisse netting the winner from the penalty spot just before half-time. That lifted Nikos Nioplias' side up to third spot in the league standings having drawn their opening game 1-1 at home to Xanthi. Giorgos Karagounis and Nikos Spyropoulos sat out the Aris victory having returned from Greece duty with injuries.


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