Barcelona booked their place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey after a 2-0 win over Espanyol at Camp Nou. It was, perhaps unsurprisingly, a pretty feisty affair but early goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi did the damage. Barca dominated throughout but weren’t quite as clinical as they have been recently. However, they did enough to win and we also got to see Philippe Coutinho make his debut.
The first half was pretty much as we all expected as Barcelona came flying out of the blocks and went on the attack from the off. The approach paid off too as the hosts were ahead after just nine minutes as Aleix Vidal crossed from the right and Luis Suarez headed home from close range.
That ensured the tie was level on aggregate but Barca to continued to pile on the pressure and had another after just 25 minutes. This time there was a fair bit of luck attached as Lionel Messi’s shot took a big deflection and flew past Pau Lopez in the Espanyol goal.
Barca had more chances as the half progresses but had to settle for a 2-0 lead at half-time that left them 2-1 up on aggregate in the tie.
The second half was pretty similar with Barca attacking again but unable to find a way through. Valverde sent on Paulinho and then pretty quickly opted for Philippe Coutinho who made his Barca debut.
The Brazilian fired a free kick well over the bar but then set up Suarez for a decent effort which was saved by Lopez with the goalkeeper also denying Ivan Rakitic on the follow up.
There was a slight scare late on for Barca as Espanyol got in behind with Gerard Moreno and he went down in the box under pressure from Jord Alba. However, the referee waved play on and Barca survived. There was still time for Messi to hit the woodwork, and he did so again with a header late on, as Barca completed the win and head into the semi-finals.
Barcelona: Cillessen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Iniesta (Coutinho), Busquets, Rakitic (Gomes); Vidal (Paulinho), Messi, Suarez.
Goals: Suarez (9’), Messi (25’)
Espanyol: Pau Lopez; Navarro, Naldo, Hermoso, Martin; David Lopez; Darder (Baptistao), Fuego, Sanchez (Melendo), Granero (Sergio Garcia); Gerard