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Espanyol vs Barcelona, Copa del Rey: Final Score 1-0, Barça waste chances, lose 1st leg

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Where was the football? I just saw the fouls.

Espanyol v Barcelona - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona and Espanyol quite literally battled for 90 minutes in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal matchup, and neither team was able to find a breakthrough. Until Espanyol did and found a late winner to take a shocking 1-0 win into the second leg at Camp Nou. Barça had the better chances in the game, including a penalty missed by Lionel Messi, and the Blaugrana definitely have a tough road to the semi-final.


The first half played out more or less like we all expected: Barça had all of the ball and tried to pass their way into the Espanyol penalty area, but the hosts did a really good job of executing their gameplay, which was simply having EVERYBODY behind the ball and fouling the hell out of Lionel Messi hoping he wouldn’t score a free kick.

Espanyol’s strategy worked and Messi couldn’t get a free throw into the back of the net, but Barça managed to create a golden chance without Messi when Carles Aleñá played a fantastic ball through to Denis Suarez who had a great angle to shoot inside the box, but he put the shot wide and couldn’t score.

At halftime, a good performance from Barça just lacked the finishing touch to get them a goal or two in the second half.


The second half followed the same script from the first, with Barça having the ball and doing a good job of passing it until Espanyol defenders either fouled someone or managed to clear the ball from danger.

The hosts continued to foul people and getting away with it until Granero fouled Sergi Roberto inside the box, giving Lionel Messi a chance to score from the penalty spot. Unfortunately Messi didn’t take a great penalty and Diego López made a beautiful leap to stop the kick.

Espanyol were encouraged by the penalty save and finally started to attack instead of kick people, and Jasper Cillessen had to make some decent stops to keep a clean sheet. Until the 88th minute when Melendo put the hosts ahead and won the game with a good finish after Barça lost possession in their own half.

This obviously is a bad result and Barça should have scored at least once, and we’ll need to play much better to win the second leg.

Barcelona: Cillessen; Roberto, Piqué, Vermaelen, Digne; Paulinho (Rakitic), Busquets, Aleñá (Suárez); Vidal, Messi, Denis (Rafinha)

Goals: None

Espanyol: López; Navarro, Duarte, Naldo, Aarón (Didac); Fuego (Melendo); Darder (Baptistao), López, Sánchez, Granero; Moreno

Goal: Melendo (88’)