NEWS
Thursday January 25 2018
Coutinho debuts as Barca reach semis

Barcelona turned their Copa del Rey tie with Espanyol around, winning the second leg 2-0 to reach the semi-finals on Philippe Coutinho's debut.

First-half goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi booked Barca's place in the last four for the eighth straight season, with Coutinho appearing for the final 25 minutes.

Andres Iniesta returned for the Blaugrana and Yerry Mina was named a substitute, but Javier Mascherano waved goodbye to Camp Nou ahead of his move to China and Ousmane Dembele remained sidelined.

Espanyol led 1-0 from the first leg, but they were comprehensively outplayed on Thursday as Suarez needed just eight minutes to head in Aleix Vidal's cross.

Messi then doubled Barca's lead with a deflected strike past Pau Lopez, which also clinched the tie for his side, despite over an hour of football still to be played.

The visitors saw just 25 percent of the ball on the night, and their night was made no easier when Coutinho was brought on for his Barca debut midway through the second half.

Ernesto Valverde's side complete the final-four line-up in the Copa, alongside Alaves, Sevilla and Leganes - the latter of whom were Real Madrid's slayers a day before.

Barcelona 2-0 Espanyol (2-1 agg.)

Suarez 9, Messi 25

Barcelona: Cillessen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Vidal (Paulinho 63), Busquets, Rakitic (Gomes 90), Iniesta (Coutinho 68); Messi, Suarez

Espanyol: Pau; Marc Navarro, Naldo, Hermoso, Aaron; Fuego; Victor Sanchez (Melendo 86), Granero (Sergio Garcia 65), David Lopez, Darder (Baptistao 46); Gerard

Referee: Mateu Lahoz

Football Italia website