Barcelona racked up an emphatic 9-2 aggregate victory with a 5-1 win over Levante progress to the semi-finals of the Copa Del Rey.
Tata Martino’s men, who were without Lionel Messi, will now likely face Real Sociedad in the next round, with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid clashing in the other half of the draw.
Goals from Adriano, Carles Puyol, Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas cancelled out Levante’s shock opener, with Barcelona never in danger of being drawn into a battle after the 4-1 win in last week’s first leg.
Barca started well, finding their passing rhythm early, but it was the visitors who took a shock lead, when Loukas Vyntra headed a corner kick delivery into the box off Sergi Roberto’s back, with the ball finding the bottom corner of the Barca net.
However, the Catalans restored parity on the night just before the half hour mark, with Adriano lashing home a shot from 20 yards, deceiving Javi Jimenez with the swerve.
And Barcelona took a 2-1 lead before the break when Puyol met a Cristian Tello corner on the run to power a header into the net.
The home side continued to dominate after the restart and took just five minutes to find the net again. Martin Montoya got to the byline before squaring into the box, only for Jimenez to fumble the ball at the feet of Sanchez, who tapped into the empty net.
The keeper was at fault again just moments later, reacting slowly to a deflected shot onto the bar with Sanchez stealing the ball for his second goal in as many minutes.
The gloss was put on the result when Fabregas lashed home a left footed drive from 12 yards, with the strike taking a touch off Juanfran to deceive Jimenez in the Levante goal.
PRE-MATCH: NO MESSI – Having started three straight games following his return from injury Martino left Messi out of his starting line-up for the second leg against Levante, with their progression to the semi-finals all but assured.
9’ GOAL – Levante take a shock lead inside 10 minutes when Vyntra’s header from a corner kick rebounds off Roberto’s back and into the bottom corner of Pinto’s net.
28’ GOAL – Barca restore parity on the night as Adriano lashes home a swerving shot from the edge of the box, although the keeper should have done better with his save.
44’ GOAL – Puyol powers home a header from a corner kick to give Barcelona the lead just before the break.
50’ GOAL – Jimenez makes a glaring error to gift Barcelona their third goal of the night, dropping a tame cross at the feet of Sanchez, who has the simple task of finishing into the empty net.
52’ GOAL – Sanchez scores his second minutes later, taking advantage of Jimenez’s slow reaction to a deflected shot into the bar to poke into the net, with the keeper flapping on the floor.
68’ GOAL – Fabregas puts the gloss on the result for the Catalans, lashing home a left-footed drive past Jimenez, who is left helpless after a deflection off Juanfran.
Barcelona have qualified for the semi-finals of the Copa Del Rey for the fourth consecutive season. The last time they did that was between 1951 and 1955.
Tonight saw the 100th game at the Camp Nou in which Barcelona have scored five goals.
Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi and Raul Garcia are joint for the top scorer in this season’s Copa Del Rey, all with four goals each.
Barcelona need to confront their set piece weaknesses. Just as was the case in the first week last week Barcelona were caught cold from a set piece. They can get away with it against a team of Levante’s quality but Tata Martino must tighten up his defence before they face the physicality of Manchester City in the Champions League.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona): The Chilean forward is set for his best season at Barcelona, having picked up the scoring baton when Messi was out injured. But he has continued his good form in front of goal even after Messi’s return. He is fast becoming a key player for Martino.
Barcelona: Pinto 5, Montoya 6, Bartra 5, Puyol 6, Adriano 6, Song 6, Roberto 6, Iniesta 5, Sanchez 8, Tello 7, Fabregas 7. Subs: Pedro 6, Afellay 5.
Levante: Jimenez 2, Nagore 4, Vyntra 6, Juanfran 5, Nikos 4, El Adoua 5, Camarasa 5, Pinto 3, Rios 4, Garcia Santos 4, Angel 3. Subs: Nong 4, Pallardo 3, Lopez Delgado 3.
- Sports & Recreation
- Lionel Messi
- Cesc Fabregas
- Alexis Sanchez
- Copa Del Rey
- Carles Puyol
- Tata Martino