Barca victims in travel fiasco, fumes Guardiola

Updated: Dec 06, 2010, 10:06 AM IST

Madrid: Five days after crushing Real Madrid 5-0, Barcelona ended the week furious at having to make a five-hour overland dash to Pamplona, helpless victims of the air traffic controllers strike which paralyzed Spain.

Barcelona were unable to fly to the fixture against Osasuna due to the industrial strife, but the Spanish football federation (RFEF) then reversed their decision to postpone the game until Sunday.

That meant the Catalan club undertook a hectic five-hour train and coach journey to Pamplona via Zaragoza and the 20:00 (1900 GMT) kick-off was delayed by 50 minutes.

Despite the nightmare preparation, Barcelona won 3-0 to stay two points ahead of Real Madrid at the top of the Spanish first division, but coach Pep Guardiola could not contain his anger.

"We were in contact all the time with the RFEF and we have been victims of the situation," seethed Guardiola.

"We were told that the game would be suspended if we were unable to travel (by plane). We waited and then finally after all the pressure they got, they told us we would lose the three points if we didn`t play.”

"We don`t mind travelling. Last season we did 14 hours on a coach to play a Champions League match because UEFA said they wouldn`t postpone the match. However, the Spanish federation told us that if our flight didn`t go they would postpone the (Osasuna) match.”

"To play against Osasuna, a team that were unbeaten in 12 games, we wanted to compete as best as we could and coming in on one day was not the best way to do that."

Osasuna fans had to wait close to an hour for Barcelona to take to the field and then watched their team outclassed by the champions who fielded the same starting XI that dispatched Real 5-0 on Monday.

"I feel bad for our supporters and the Osasuna fans," said Guardiola. "It was not our intention, we always try and separate ourselves from this type of controversy.”

"More than 300,000 people have been affected by the wildcat strike of the air controllers. Us as well. It was an exceptional situation and for this reason the RFEF told us the game would be suspended if we couldn`t go by plane."

Barcelona midfielder Sergi Busquets admitted the players found it difficult to get going after the rushed pre-match preparation, but then found their momentum with goals from Pedro Rodriguez and Lionel Messi (2) clinching victory.

"At the start we found it a little tough because they came out strong and we were affected by how the day had gone," Busquets said.

Barcelona have now won their last eight matches in the league and their next game is Tuesday`s Champions League match at home to Russians Rubin Kazan although the stakes are low with Barcelona having already sealed top spot in the group.

PTI