Barcelona secured a late win at Cultural Leonesa in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie on Wednesday thanks to substitute Clement Lenglet’s first goal for the club.
Ernesto Valverde named a much-changed XI as expected. He handed first-team debuts to Juan Miranda, Jorge Cuena and Chumi. There were also starts for Denis Suarez, Sergi Samper and Malcom.
Barcelona saw plenty of the ball in the first half, but they didn’t really trouble Palatsí in the Cultural Leonesa goal. They also suffered a blow in the opening 45 minutes, as Samper was forced off with yet another injury. Carles Alena took his place in the team, while Samper sat on the bench looking pretty distraught. The closest we came to a goal was a Cultural Leonesa shot which forced Jasper Cillessen into a diving save.
There were lots of sloppy moments too. Nelson Semedo and Malcom were both guilty of giving the ball away, Juan Miranda picked up a booking, while Denis Suarez was struggling to make any impression at all. There were a few pretty hefty challenges from the hosts, but they deserved to go in at the break on level terms.
The first chance of the second half came courtesy of the hosts after Alena had given the ball away. Ortiz raced forwards on the counter and beat Arturo Vidal, but his shot was comfortably saved by Cillessen.
Barca were still toiling as an attacking force. An Alena shot on goal after 71 minutes was pretty much the first thing Palatsi was forced to do. Meanwhile, Cillessen was forced into a quick double save at the other end. He pushed away a corner at his near post and then tipped over a fierce strike from Saul.
Valverde was looking pretty frustrated on the touchline. He sent on Lenglet and Arthur in the second half but still Barcelona found it tough going.
Barca finally managed to carve out a decent chance with five minutes of normal time remaining. Denis crossed for Alena, who nodded it down to Munir, but the striker could only blast over.
The game looked destined to be heading for a goalless draw, until Ousmane Dembele dinked in a free-kick and Lenglet headed the winner past Palatsi.
Cultural Leonesa: Palatsí; Saúl (Alonso), Escalante, González, Bernal; Romero (Calvo), Marcos, Beltrán, Aridane; Ortiz, Zelu (Rodríguez)
Barcelona: Cillessen; Semedo, Cuenca (Lenglet), Chumi, Miranda; Vidal, Samper (Alena), Denis; Dembélé, Munir, Malcom (Arthur)
Goal: Lenget, 90