Barcelona vs. RCD Espanyol : Picture gallery and best moments
Barcelona secured a comfortable 4-1 victory over nine-man Espanyol in the opening leg of their Copa del Rey round-of-16 match at the Nou Camp.
The home side gave summer signing Arda Turan his debut in the Barcelona vs. RCD Espanyol match after the club’s much frustrating transfer ban had been ended on Monday. Their another high-profile signing, full-back Aleix Vidal, started the Barcelona vs. RCD Espanyol match on the bench.
The two teams played out a heated goalless draw in the Primera Division on last Saturday but the hosts were on the leading front as the Espanyol goalkeeper Javi Lopez’s smothering block restrained Neymar from giving them an early goal after eight minutes.
But Espanyol, who had reached the semi-finals last year, took a shocking lead just moments later when Marco Asensio struck on Dani Alves’ pass before teeing up Caicedo, who steadily slotted it past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Luis Enrique’s squad equalized immediately when Andres Iniesta found out Messi with a through ball and the Argentine made no error in beating the advancing Lopez.
Messi then conjured a moment of magic three minutes from the half-time mark. Substitute Jordan impeded Turan from a stunning 30 yards out to concede a free-kick before Messi brilliantly stepped up to beat Lopez with a graceful strike that curled over the Espanyol wall and in the underside of the bar – becoming his 19th goal of the season, in this Barcelona vs. RCD Espanyol clash.
Barcelona rushed out of the blocks in the second half and grabbed a stunning third when Iniesta spotted Messi’s brilliant run on the left byline before he spotted Pique to score from three yards.
With two minutes to finishing mark, Neymar and Messi played a perfect one-two just outside of Espanyol’s penalty region before the latter picked out the Brazilian forward with a lofted ball and the forward defeated Lopez with a first-time volley.
The next leg is scheduled next Wednesday at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat.