Barcelona began the defence of their Copa del Rey crown with a 3-0 victory over third-tier Real Murcia in the Round of 32 on Tuesday.
Barca named a second-string XI against Murcia, which included outcast Thomas Vermaelen, but Jose Arnaiz and Carles Alena – only one of two Masia graduates – were their only B personnel.
The hosts, meanwhile, had won just one of last five games and were 16th in Segunda B but had beaten their last Catalan opponents in the form of Olot.
Alena flew onto the end of a corner early in the game, but his finish was cleared off the line, before Alex Santome pushed away Denis Suarez’s header on target.
Nonetheless, Paco Alcacer timed his run perfectly to nod in Gerard Deulofeu’s cross from the right just a minute before the interval.
Deulofeu then dashed past his opponent, not long into the second half, before angling a strike across Santome and into the back of the net.
Two minutes later, debutant Arnaiz pulled in from the left and subsequently blasted in a long-range effort for 3-0.
Murcia did have their chances, but Salva Chamorro failed to scramble home from a couple of yards out, while Elady Zorrilla’s half-volley from close range was straight at Jasper Cillessen.
Alcacer should’ve ended the match with his second goal of the evening, but his close-range shot after having been played through by Arnaiz was blocked.
Both sides will contest the second leg at Camp Nou on November 29, with Real Madrid facing Segunda B high-fliers Fuenlabrada on Thursday.
Real Murcia 0-3 Barcelona
Alcacer 44, Deulofeu 52, Arnaiz 55
Real Murcia: Santome; Escribano, Orfila, Ortiz, Juanra; Montes, Fernando Llorente (David Sanchez 61), Mateos (Armando 76), Dominguez, Molinero (Chamorro 61); Zorrilla
Barcelona: Cillessen; Semedo, Mascherano, Vermaelen, Digne (Cucurella 83); Alena (Sergi Roberto 76), Gomes, Denis; Deulofeu (Rakitic 76), Alcacer, Arnaiz
Referee: Munuera Montero