‘Herculean’ effort sinks champs Barca | india | Hindustan Times
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‘Herculean’ effort sinks champs Barca

india Updated: Sep 13, 2010 00:39 IST

Champions Barcelona suffered a humiliating 2-0 home defeat to Hercules on Saturday when Nelson Valdez struck twice to give the tiny promoted club a shock La Liga victory at a stunned Nou Camp stadium.

Barca had not lost at home in the league since May 2009 when they went down 1-0 to Osasuna having already secured the title but Paraguay striker Valdez scored either side of halftime to help Alicante-based Hercules pull off one of the biggest giantkilling acts of recent seasons.

Pep Guardiola's side, whose sole defeat last season came at Atletico Madrid, looked surprisingly toothless even with Argentina forward Lionel Messi and World Cup-winners David Villa and Andres Iniesta in the starting lineup.

The reverse leaves them on three points from their opening two matches, one behind arch rivals Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo set up Ricardo Carvalho to score the only goal in Real's 1-0 win over Osasuna later on Saturday and hand their Portuguese compatriot and coach Jose Mourinho a winning home debut.

Hercules have an annual budget of around a tenth of the roughly 400 million euros ($508 million) Barca command but Guardiola's decision to start without players including Xavi, Pedro, Sergio Busquets and Carles Puyol backfired badly.

The home side seized early control and striker Bojan Krkic fluffed a chance to put Barca ahead in the 10th minute.

The festival atmosphere for the National Day of Catalunya was spoiled when Valdez scrambled the ball over the head of goalkeeper Victor Valdes in the 27th minute.

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