NEWS
Wednesday January 17 2018
Espanyol end Barca hoodoo

Lionel Messi missed a penalty as Espanyol defeated Catalan neighbours Barcelona 1-0 in Wednesday's Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg.

 

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 Oscar Melendo's finish two minutes from time not only put Espanyol in command of the tie but also ended Barca's 29-game unbeaten run and marked Los Periquitos' first home win against their city rivals in 11 years.

Jasper Cillessen, Lucas Digne, Carles Alena, Aleix Vidal and Denis Suarez all came into Barca’s XI, although Lionel Messi still started up top.

New signing Yerry Mina didn't make the squad at all, nor did fellow defender Javier Mascherano, who has practically agreed a move to China.

On the other hand, Rafinha appeared in Barca's matchday squad for the first time in almost a year, despite speculation that the midfielder was close to joining Inter.

Espanyol, meanwhile, were still managed by Quique Sanchez Flores after his decision to turn down Stoke City.

Los Pericos had lost only one of their last six games but had not beaten Barca at home since January 2007, Ernesto Valverde’s side having also gone 29 matches without defeat.

The two sides’ last meeting in the Copa came in the 2015-16 Round of 16, when the holders ran out 6-1 winners on aggregate.

Espanyol 1-0 Barcelona

Melendo 88

Espanyol: Diego Lopez; Oscar Duarte, David Lopez, Naldo; Marc Navarro, Victor Sanchez, Fuego (Melendo 75), Darder (Leo Baptistao 46), Aaron (Vila 58); Granero; Gerard

Barcelona: Cillessen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Vermaelen, Digne; Paulinho (Rakitic 54), Busquets, Alena (Suarez 59); Vidal, Messi, Denis (Rafinha 78)

Referee: De Burgos Bengoetxea

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