Paco Alcacer finally opened his goal account as Barcelona sauntered into the Copa del Rey last 16 with a 7-0 thrashing of Hercules on Wednesday.
Barca’s young guns were held to a 1-1 draw by the third-tier side three weeks ago, prompting Luis Enrique to name a strictly-senior line-up, albeit without MSN and their famed La Masia quintet of Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and newest member Sergi Roberto.
Lucas Digne and Denis Suarez had early warning shots, while Arda Turan’s low cross needed to be cleared off Ivan Buigues’ line.
Nonetheless, the Turk’s next wing delivery was flicked on by Rafinha to Lucas Digne, who fired past Buigues for his first-ever Barca goal.
The influential Arda’s ankles were then clipped in the box, leaving Ivan Rakitic to drill the penalty into the Hercules goalkeeper’s bottom-right.
Having earned the privilege to come back out for the second half with no pressure, Barca took full advantage. Arda was again the catalyst as he skipped past his opponent before laying off Rafinha, who drove home goal No 3.
It was soon Aleix Vidal’s turn to play provided, and the right-back demonstrated scope for a telepathic understanding with Arda as his pinpoint cross was headed in by the former Atletico Madrid ace.
Alcacer, meanwhile, was given a huge show of faith by Enrique, who did not name another striker on the substitutes’ bench.
Without a Barca goal in his first 11 appearances, it looked like being another frustrating evening for the ex-Valencia forward when he threw himself onto the end of a low cross from the left but ended up missing it by a fraction.
However, Alcacer’s persistence paid off as he eventually headed home Rafinha’s deflected cross, despite seeming offside.
The Spaniard was then denied a second after some fantastic Denis Suarez footwork near the byline, although Hercules’ Jose Manuel Rojas proceeded to head a corner just over.
Back at the other end, Vidal’s peach of a cross was met by the reborn Alcacer, but he was somehow kept out by Buigues, Arda on hand to blast home the rebound.
Lightning struck twice when Alcacer’s shot was pushed away and followed up by Arda bending an unstoppable effort past the glovesman with the last kick at Camp Nou.
Barcelona 7-0 Hercules (8-1 agg.)
Digne 37, Rakitic pen 45, Rafinha 50, Arda 55, 86, 89, Alcacer 73
Barcelona: Cillessen; Vidal, Mascherano, Umtiti, Digne; Rakitic, Gomes, Denis; Arda, Alcacer, Rafinha
Hercules: Buigues; Dalmau, Pena, Roman, Bueso (Mainz 54), Rojas, Chechu, Checa, Berrocal (Salinas 69), Minano, Gaspar (Nieto 46)
Referee: Munuera Montero