Copa del Rey match report Espanyol v FC Barcelona 17 January 2018

Espnyol Barcelona PS

Barca, who lost for the first time this season against Espanyol - face Real Betis at the weekend. But it was not the case on Wednesday when Barcelona was defeated by Espanyol. Some were enforced, with Andres Iniesta and Ousmane Dembele joining a lengthy injury list this week, while others, such as Luis Suarez, were left on the bench.

Barca were awarded a penalty in the 61st minute when Sergi Roberto went down under the challenge of Granero. Valverde went ahead with an unusual team selection. The match could have ended as a draw with as Gerard Pique scored from close range but the referee correctly ruled it out as an offside.

Real Madrid took a small step toward ending its crisis by defeating Leganes 1-0 with an 89th-minute goal by Marco Asensio in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals on Thursday.

"We bore the brunt of the game and they waited for us to take advantage of their game plan", Valverde said after the match.

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"This victory is important for the history of the club and to break down all those walls", said Espanyol coach Quique Sanchez Flores.

Espanyol: "They approached the game well, sitting deep and waiting for us and closing the spaces down the middle". I congratulate them and we'll meet again in a week's time. "We have to come back".

Barcelona coasted in the first meeting between the two sides this season, winning 5-0 on September 9 thanks to a Messi hat trick and goals from Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez. "The guys have understood the game phenomenally".

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