Champions Barcelona survived an early scare as they fought back to secure a 2-1 victory over third-team Linares Deportivo in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, sending them into the quarter-finals.
Barca took the trip to Andalusia and lacked several players due to COVID-19 and injuries, but coach Xavi Hernandez still decided to rest some key names for the last 32 match and they fell behind in the 19th minute to a header from Hugo Diaz.
Xavi then picked up Frenkie de Jong, Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele in the second half, where the French winger equalized with a low long shot that ‘goalkeeper Brimah Razak failed to stop.
A few minutes later, young academy striker Ferran Jutgla scored the winner with a cross from the corner of the box after a counter-attack.
“I am very happy to help the team, to do what the coach asks me to do,” Jutgla told reporters. “They came out very strong, maybe a little stronger than us.”
Barca join Espanyol, Real Sociedad, Valencia, Real Betis, Rayo Vallecano, Mallorca and third-team Atletico Baleares, who eliminated La Liga team Celta Vigo with a 2-1 win as the first clubs to advance to the quarter-finals .
Real Madrid meet Alcoyano in third place later on Wednesday, and Atletico Madrid host Rayo Majadahonda on Thursday.
It was another bad performance from Barcelona, who are number five in the La Liga standings, 15 points behind leaders Real Madrid.
Linares were on top even after Barca made their substitutions after the break and twice hit the crossbar.
They also got a goal rejected by the referee for a narrow offside that could not be controlled because Linares’ small stadium could not support the installation of VAR.
The big news in the match was Dani Alves’ first appearance after his return to the club after six years.
The 38-year-old right-back, who started the match as a winger, on Wednesday became the oldest player to have competed for Barcelona in a competition, surpassing Jose Manuel Pinto by 54 days.
Madrid takes revenge on elritse Alcoyano
Real Madrid needed a lot of effort and a bit of luck as they won 3-1 at Alcoyano in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, where two late goals helped them get revenge for their defeat to the third team last year.
It looked like deja-vu when Real Madrid returned to El Collao Stadium 12 months after being humiliated 2-1 by the same team that comes from a small town close to Alicante.
Like last year, Eder headed Militao Real in the lead, but Dani Vega scored a magnificent equalizer, spinning a left-footed attack into Andriy Lunin’s top corner.
Real took the lead when Alcoyanos’s Raul Gonzalez deflected a Marco Asensio shot into the net with his back, misfeeding goalkeeper Jose Juan.
Two minutes later, Isco took advantage of a foul from two Alcoyano defenders, and after colliding with Jose Juan, the ball bounced off him and rolled into goal.