Barcelona were made to work surprisingly hard for their place in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey by fourth-tier side Barbastro on Sunday evening.
Goals from Fermin Lopez and Raphinha had given Barca a 2-0 lead before Barbastro striker Adria de Mesa made it 2-1 and Isreal Garcia came within a whisker of levelling for the home side.
Penalties for either side – scored by Robert Lewandowski and Marc Prat – late in the game ensured that the game would finish 3-2, and Xavi Hernandez’s side would embarrassingly narrowly progress to the next round of the competition.
How the game unfolded
As expected, Barcelona thoroughly dominated their fourth tier opposition in the opening exchanges, and they didn’t have to wait too long before taking the lead.
The opening goal would come courtesy of Fermin Lopez, who ghosted into the box unmarked to fire home a low cross from Raphinha.
Fermin turned provider in the 40th minute when, after racing down the right flank, he chipped a delightful cross into the path of the unmarked Jaoa Felix at the back post. The Portuguese international would duly convert with his first time half-volley, however the goal was chalked off for offside.
Amazingly, it would be Barbastro who’d create the next notable chance of the game, spurning an opportunity to make 1-1 in the opening moments of the second half.
Said chance would fall to midfielder Gonpi when the ball deflected kindly into his path in the penalty area. After controlling well however, the midfielder was unable to get much purchase on his subsequent effort on goal, seeing Inaki Pena comfortably gather the shot on his line.
The fourth-tier side were made to rue that miss moments later, when Barca went up the other end and made it 2-0. Raphinha stole in at the back post to side-foot home a wonderful whipped cross from youngster Hector Fort in the 50th minute.
Barbastro shockingly managed to reduce arrears ten minutes later, when striker Adria de Mesa capitalised on a fantastic set piece delivery from Gonpi to flick home a famous goal in front of a rampant home crowd at the Estadio Municipal de Deportes.
The home side came close to levelling late in the game, with Isreal Garcia heading just wide after being found completely unmarked with a cross inside the penalty area.
After that scare, Bara were finally able to put the game to bed in the 87th minute. Substitute Robert Lewandowski converted a penalty after a handball in the box to make it 3-1.
Soon after, debutant Vitor Roque missed a great chance to make his maiden Barca outing with a goal. The Brazilian burst past the Barbastro defence with ease, but was unable to beat Arnau Fabregas with his resulting side-footed effort on goal.
In added time, Barbastro were rewarded a penalty of their own when Fermin fouled in the box. Up stepped 23-year-old Marc Prat to take the spot kick, and he made no mistake with it – thumping it into the roof of the net.
GK: Inaki Pena – 4/10 – Couldn’t do too much about the goals Barca conceded.
RB: Jules Kounde – 6/10 – Worked way harder defensively than he was perhaps expecting too, winning 10 duals and making three interceptions.
CB: Ronald Araujo – 4/10 – De Mesa got the best of him on a few too many occasions.
CB: Andreas Christensen – 6/10 – Like his defensive teammates, he worked harder than expected. The ex-Chelsea man did well though, winning 100% of his duals in the game.
LB: Hector Fort – 7/10 – The youngster played a wonderful cross into the back post area to set up Raphinha’s goal. He’s good in Football Manager for a reason.
CM: Frenkie de Jong – 6/10 – A cool head in the middle of the park for Barca.
CM: Oriol Romeu – 3/10 – Off the pace for much of the game, and only completed 81% of his usually sideways passes.
CM: Fermin Lopez – 7/10 – A constant threat with his runs from midfield. Deserved his goal.
RW: Raphinha – 8/10 – Caused problems with his trickery out wide, and bagged a goal and an assist for his side.
ST: Ferran Torres – 2/10 – Didn’t effect the game in any way.
LW: Joao Felix – 2/10 – Scored an offside goal (that wasn’t offside), but was largely ineffective thereafter.
SUB: Vitor Roque (64′ for Raphinha) – 5/10 – Missed a good chance after being introduced.
SUB: Inigo Martinez (64′ for Christensen) – N/A
SUB: Ilkay Gundogan (72′ for Romeu) – 5/10
SUB: Robert Lewandowski (72′ for Felix) – 6/10 – Won and scored an important penalty.
SUB: Sergi Roberto (75′ for Martinez) – N/A
Manager – Xavi Hernandez – 2/10 – His team should have put Barbastro to the sword on Sunday, and they didn’t. Questions need to be asked about Barca’s toothlessness in the final third.