Barcelona secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 3-0 victory over Levante on Thursday that secured a 4-2 aggregate win.
Ernesto Valverde named a strong team for the game at the Camp Nou, and his team got the job done with a minimum of fuss.
Barcelona found it tough going in the early stages against a resolute Levante side who did not give them an inch.
Yet they kept on going and the chances started to come midway throug the first half. Philippe Coutinho hammered a shot over the bar, Lionel Messi was denied by Aitor Fernandez and Jeison Murillo and Arturo Vidal both saw headers fly over the bar.
The pressure eventually told after half an hour, as Barca scored two in two minutes to take control of the tie.
Messi managed to win possession just outside the penalty area and found Ousmane Dembele. The Frenchman raced into the box and, as Erick Cabaco tried to clear, the ball came off the Barca man and dropped into the back of the net.
The duo combined again for the second goal. Again Messi sent Dembele through, and he rounded the goalkeeper with a scuffed shot that went in despite Fernandez getting a touch.
Barcelona might have had more before half-time. Messi was denied again by Fernandez, Dembele dinked a hat-trick chance wide and Fernandez made a good double save from Coutinho and Messi.
The second half started in similar style. Coutinho managed to get the ball in the back of the net, but it was correctly ruled out for offside.
The third goal did not take too much longer to arrive. Dembele sent Nelson Semedo away down the right, and he sent in a low cross for Messi to poke past Fernandez.
Dembele had another chance to secure a hat-trick with 20 minutes to go, but he sent a cross-shot just inches past the far post.
Meanwhile, Levante had few sights of goal and never really troubled Jasper Cillessen who had a quiet evening in the Barca goal. Emmanuel Boateng hit the post in stoppage time, but by that time the game was already gone.
It was a deserved win for Barcelona who were comfortably the better team and caused all sorts of problems with Dembele and Messi.
The win puts Barcelona into Friday’s quarter-final draw, although Levante have confirmed they plan to complain about the holders fielding an ineligible line-up in the first leg to the RFEF on Friday.
Barcelona: Cillessen; Semedo, Murillo, Lenglet, Alba (Roberto); Vidal, Rakitic, Arthur; Dembélé (Denis), Messi, Coutinho (Suarez).
Goals: Dembele (30’, 32’), Messi (54’)
Levante: Aitor; Rober, Postigo (Jason), Cabaco; Coke, Campaña (Doukoure), Prcic, Simon; Bardhi; Mayoral (Dwamena), Boateng.