Barcelona are through to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals after a second leg 2-0 win against Espanyol, thanks to a brace from Munir El-Haddadi. As expected, we saw a nervous match due to last week's madness, but Barça were able to control the damage and advance with no bigger problems.
The Blaugranes came out in a surprising heavy rotation of the squad by coach Luis Enrique, who gave starting spots to reserves and using a different formation, with a lone striker and Lionel Messi working as a playmaker behind Munir. Barça controlled the half with accurate passing and plenty of possession, limiting Espanyol's attacking trips with smart defending.
Perhaps due to such a different team, the visitors had a tough time creating chances, but a moment of Messi Magic solved all offensive issues. With a sensational through ball, Leo found Munir alone in the box, and the young striker rounded the keeper before chipping the ball over a sliding defender for a very pretty finish and the opening goal.
At halftime, a safe, efficient performance, and a quarter-final spot guaranteed.
The final 45 minutes were the most boring we saw from Barça this season, which is probably exactly what Enrique wanted. There was no need to score more, only the need to avoid conceding silly goals. The team kept possession and withstood a little pressure from the hosts.
And just when it seemed over, a counter-attack closed the deal. A clinical five-on-three break who had touches from Messi, Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal ended with Munir's second goal of the game.
In the end, a comfortable win, not a lot of tension, and a qualification. Perfect evening.
Espanyol: Bardi; Correa, Ciani, Alvaro, Duarte; Jordán, Abraham (Moreno); Asensio, Salva Sevilla (Mamadou), Burgui (Montañés); Caicedo
Barcelona: Stegen; Alves, Mascherano, Vermaelen (Bartra), Mathieu; Rakitic, Roberto (Adriano); Vidal, Messi, Arda; Munir
Goals: Munir (31', 87')