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March 4, 2021
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Football: Barcelona held as Schalke take cup lead

Free-scoring FC Barcelona were held to a rare 0-0 draw, FC Schalke 04 got a useful result in the German Cup, and Tuesday night’s lone French league fixture ended in stalemate at FC Lorient, uefa.com informs.
FC Barcelona were denied a goal for only the second time this season as Athletic Club held them to their first 0-0 draw of the campaign in the Copa del Rey round of 16 first leg.


Hercules CF handed Josep Guardiola’s side their only Liga defeat of the season to date with a 2-0 win on 11 September, but the Spanish champions had scored at least once in all 22 of their subsequent domestic and European encounters until they came up against the Bilbao side’s resolute defence at Camp Nou. Bojan Krkic, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and David Villa all had chances, but Gorka Iraizoz made some fine saves for the Basque club, and when Gerard Pique skewed wide late on, it was clear it was not to be Barcelona’s day.


Second division Cordoba CF held RC Deportivo La Coruna to a 1-1 draw at home in the night’s other early Copa del Rey tie, while Valencia CF were held 0-0 by Villarreal CF in the evening’s late fixture. Juan Mata volleyed against the post just after the break and other decent chances went begging for Unai Emery’s side. Over in Germany, inclement weather ensured that only two of the scheduled German Cup last 16 openers went ahead. Schalke won 1-0 away against second division leaders FC Augsburg, with Jefferson Farfan scoring the only goal of a tight encounter late on after being teed up by Raul Gonzalez. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim won 2-0 against Bundesliga strugglers VfL Borussia Monchengladbach elsewhere, with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Demba Ba the latest goalscorers to profit from an accident-prone defence.


Finally, the only league game scheduled in France saw FC Lorient and mid-table rivals Montpellier Herault SC share the spoils in a goalless tie. The hosts had the better of the action, but Christian Gourcuff’s side held on for a point despite playing the final 17 minutes with ten men following Mapou Yanga-M’Biwa’s dismissal.

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