Spanish Copa del Rey - 1st Leg
Barcelona4Espanyol1

Barcelona 4-1 Espanyol

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi's brilliant second goal was met with wild celebrations

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona came from behind to beat Espanyol, who finished the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie with nine men.

Felipe Caicedo put the visitors ahead after good play by Marco Asensio.

Messi equalised and then put Barca ahead with a fantastic 25-yard, off-the-bar free-kick, before setting up Gerard Pique to slide in a third.

Espanyol had Hernan Perez sent off for two bookings and Pape Diop for dissent before Neymar hit a brilliant volley.

The Brazilian's goal - which probably sealed the tie - came after a one-two with Messi, who played a first-time pass over the defence for Neymar to smash home.

Relive Barcelona's Catalan derby victory

It is the second of three Barcelona derbies in 11 days, with the teams meeting again in the second leg next Wednesday. They drew 0-0 in the league on Saturday.

Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal made their debuts six months after joining Barcelona after the club were finally allowed to register them following a transfer ban.

Espanyol lose their heads

Pau Lopez and Arda Turan
Espanyol keeper Pau Lopez was booked following a clash with Arda Turan

Espanyol led for four minutes, but that was a distant memory when the final whistle went after a game which turned nasty at stages.

Goalkeeper Pau Lopez was lucky to escape a second yellow card when he appeared to stand on Messi's shin, leaving the Argentine furious.

Perez was then shown his second yellow card for an off-the-ball tackle on Jordi Alba. His first followed a nasty hack from behind on Neymar.

Three minutes later Diop was also dismissed. The midfielder, who had already been booked, was shown a straight red card for a comment that appeared to be aimed at Barca striker Luis Suarez, rather than the referee.

Messi on top form

Lionel Messi
Messi has scored 14 goals in 21 games of an injury-hit campaign

Messi is overwhelming favourite to win the award for the world's best player at next Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony.

And his performance in the Catalan derby showed just why he is considered the best.

He scored twice and assisted the other two goals. His first came when he latched on to an Andres Iniesta pass to fire home from near the penalty spot, and his magnificent second was his fourth free-kick goal of the season.

He gave Pique an easy chance to turn home Barca's third and then set up Neymar's final goal with an instinctive first-time aerial ball.

Barca's new boys

Arda Turan
Arda Turan forced a save after being picked out by Lionel Messi in the second half

Turan and Vidal made their long-awaited debuts, having joined from Atletico Madrid and Sevilla respectively in the summer, and had solid games.

Turkey international Turan started in a midfield three. The £24m man forced a save from Lopez with an effort at the keeper's near post before being replaced midway through the second half by Ivan Rakitic.

Vidal came on at right-back for Dani Alves at the same time and joined Barca's attack on several occasions, having an effort blocked for a corner.

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 6Dani AlvesSubstituted forVidal Parreuat 67'minutes
  • 3PiquéBooked at 73mins
  • 14Mascherano
  • 18Alba
  • 7TuranSubstituted forRakiticat 68'minutes
  • 5Busquets
  • 8Iniesta
  • 10MessiBooked at 78mins
  • 9L SuárezBooked at 45mins
  • 11NeymarBooked at 34mins

Substitutes

  • 4Rakitic
  • 15Bartra
  • 17El Haddadi
  • 22Vidal Parreu
  • 23Vermaelen
  • 24Mathieu
  • 25Masip

Espanyol

  • 13LópezBooked at 45mins
  • 16López Rodríguez
  • 24Raíllo Arenas
  • 6RocoBooked at 78mins
  • 5Álvarez Delgado
  • 12DiopBooked at 75mins
  • 10González CasanovaBooked at 11minsSubstituted forFranco Alvizat 60'minutesBooked at 74mins
  • 17PérezBooked at 72mins
  • 7Moreno BalagueróBooked at 20mins
  • 25AsensioSubstituted forSevilla Lópezat 45'minutes
  • 20CaicedoSubstituted forJordán Morenoat 41'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Bardi
  • 3Duarte
  • 8Sevilla López
  • 9Franco Alviz
  • 15Ciani
  • 19Jordán Moreno
  • 28Sylla Diallo
Referee:
Juan Martínez Munuera
Attendance:
76,667

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamEspanyol
Possession
Home76%
Away24%
Shots
Home21
Away2
Shots on Target
Home11
Away1
Corners
Home13
Away2
Fouls
Home12
Away20

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 6th January 2016

View all Spanish Copa del Rey results

Top Stories