Barcelona needed extra time strikes from Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite to overcome third tier opponents Cornella on Thursday night, as Ronald Koeman’s men progressed to the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey.
Barça were uninspired in Lionel Messi’s absence and, despite having the majority of possession, struggled to find a way past an organised Cornella defence. The chances were actually shared evenly for the most part, with both teams seeing efforts on goal saved.
A Miralem Pjanic penalty was stopped fantastically by Cornella goalkeeper Ramon Juan to keep the game goalless at the break, before more spot kick calamity came ten minutes before full time.
Clement Lenglet won the penalty, but Dembele’s woeful effort from the spot was easily stopped by Juan. The Cornella shot stopper produced more heroics at the death as he spectacularly kept a Pjanic strike from nestling into the top corner, taking the game to extra time.
However, seconds after forcing another great save from Juan, Dembele found the top corner with a stunning strike from outside the area. There was just enough time at the end for Albert Estelles to be sent off for the hosts before Pedri played Braithwaite in to score into an empty net with the last kick of the match.
Now, to the Barcelona ratings.
Neto (GK) – 8/10 – Made a good claw away in the early stages and was called upon more in the second 45. Made a couple of great saves after the hour mark to keep the opposition at bay.
Oscar Mingueza (RB) – 6/10 – The Spaniard looked a danger when he got up the right, putting in several promising crosses, while holding his own when Cornella broke forward. A solid display.
Ronald Araujo (CB) – 9/10 – Another stoic performance form the Uruguayan. Was no-nonsense throughout, making a series of crucial blocks, tackles and clearances. Looking more and more like a real talent.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – 7/10 – A consistent outing for the Frenchman, rarely giving the opposition a route past him and once again distributed the ball well from the heart of defence.
Junior Firpo (LB) – 5/10 – Provided a constant overlap for Antoine Griezmann on the left, but failed to deliver much quality and looked sloppy in possession at times.
Ilaix Moriba (CM) – 6/10 – The 18-year-old made his first appearance for Barça and looked comfortable. Linked play well and brought Mingueza into the game on the right flank nicely. A good debut, even if he did look leggy before coming off.
Miralem Pjanic (CM) – 6/10 – Spread the play well from midfield and provided good delivery when he had the chance. Might have won the game on 90 minutes but for a fantastic save. The fact he missed the first half penalty limits him to a six, though.
Riqui Puig (CM) – 5/10 – The youngster didn’t do himself justice on a rare starting opportunity. Despite showing moments of brilliance on the ball, he couldn’t seem to find the right pass before coming off at half time.
Trincao (RW) – 6/10 – Was unfortunate not score on the half hour mark with a good volley and looked good until half time. Unfortunately, the Portuguese couldn’t influence the game as much after moving infield in the second period.
Martin Braithwaite (ST) – 6/10 – Once again didn’t receive too much service but missed a gilt-edge chance early in the second period. Did manage to bag a goal with the last kick of the game – a nice finish to proceedings.
Antoine Griezmann (LW) – 6/10 – The Frenchman has been in fantastic form of late but really struggled to influence play as he drifted in from wide. An uncharacteristically quiet one before being replaced.
Ousmane Dembele (RW) – 7/10 – A pathetic penalty would’ve hogged his individual headlines before he redeemed himself with a thunderbolt of a strike that broke the deadlock in extra time.
Pedri (CM) – 7/10 – A few brilliant touches on the ball and made the team tick when tired Cornella legs afforded him time on the ball. Was unselfish at the end to slip Braithwaite in as he was one on one with Juan.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 7/10 – Broke the game down well with his experience and Cornella barely got out of their own half after the veteran came on – tells you all you need to know, right?
Konrad de la Fuente (LW) – 6/10 – Forced a brilliant save from Juan with his first touches on the pitch and looked troublesome on the left wing.