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January 28, 2006

Ronaldinho: Barcelona cup defeat is must be a wake-up call

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His team lost a game and nowadays that is not usual. Barcelona star Ronaldinho Gaucho says his side's first defeat in 25 matches will ensure the team does not drop its guard again in the remainder of the season.

"This result will serve to keep our feet on the ground," the Brazilian players was quoted as saying in a newspaper on Friday following his side's 4-2 defeat at Real Zaragoza in the King's Cup (Copa del Rey).

"Zaragoza took full advantage of the chances they had and these things happen in football. However, we are sad because we are used to winning every game and we couldn't keep it going."
Zaragoza stunned the Catalans with three perfectly executed goals in the space of five minutes to take a 3-0 lead in the King's Cup quarter-final first leg before the half-hour was up.

Barcelona clawed their way back to make it 3-2 just after the hour, but a penalty from Argentine Diego Milito gave Zaragoza a handy two-goal advantage ahead of next week's return leg.

The defeat, which came in similar fashion to their 4-2 loss to Chelsea in last season's Champions League, brought an abrupt end to Barca's 18-match winning streak in all competitions.

Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard, who had decided to rest inspirational defender Carles Puyol and first-choice goal keeper Victor Valdes for Wednesday's match, said he was confident his team could rectify its defensive problems.

"Conceding three goals in such a short time has to be avoided and we need to reflect on this performance," he told a post-match news conference.

"It would be worrying if we didn't know what we had to do to correct this, but that is not the case."

If Tonaldinho’s team manage to oust Zaragoza they will face arch-rivals Real Madrid in the semi-finals.