BARCELONA relied on extra-time to beat third-tier Cornella in the Copa del Rey – after missing TWO penalties.
A team featuring Antoine Griezmann and Miralem Pjanic embarked on the ten-minute drive from the Camp Nou for Thursday night’s local derby.
Ramon Juan produced a footballing first by saving two Barcelona penalties in one gameCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Ousmane Dembele saw his effort saved before an extra-time winnerCredit: AP:Associated Press
Their Segunda Division B hosts had already knocked out Atletico Madrid in the previous round and had scrum-capped goalkeeper Ramon Juan to thank for taking Barcelona to extra-time.
The 21-year-old first denied Pjanic from 12 yards before turning away Ousmane Dembele’s penalty six minutes from time.
According to Spanish stats expert Mister Chip, Ramon became the first goalkeeper ever to save two Barcelona penalties in the same game.
Going into extra-time, the LaLiga giants were wary of meeting the same fate as Real Madrid.
Los Blancos were beaten 2-1 by third-tier Alcoyano on Wednesday night, leaving Zinedine Zidane facing more questions over his future.
Any chance of another upset for Cornella diminished when Dembele launched a powerful 25-yarder past Ramon three minutes into extra-time.
After Albert Manel Estelles Fernandez was sent off for the minnows on 118 minutes, Martin Braithwaite walked in his sixth of the season to round off the 2-0 win.
The victory was an important reprieve for Ronald Koeman after his side lost to Athletic Club in the Supercopa de Espana.
It was also Barcelona’s first game without Lionel Messi since he was sent off on the weekend.
The Catalans plan to appeal the two-game suspension that would see him also sit out Sunday’s trip to Elche.
It was 33-year-old Messi’s first red card in his 753rd appearance for Barcelona.
And coach Koeman may see the Copa as his best route to a trophy this season, particularly with both Madrid sides out.
Barcelona scored twice in extra-time to reach the last-16Credit: EPA
Antoine Griezmann was among those frustrated by Ramon’s heroicsCredit: AP:Associated Press
Paris Saint-Germain await Koeman’s side in the Champions League last-16.
While Barcelona are ten points off the pace in LaLiga after former star Luis Suarez snatched a last-minute win for leaders Atletico at Eibar on Thursday.
The Uruguayan struck twice after Eibar goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic scored an 11th-minute penalty, becoming the first LaLiga keeper to do so since 2002.
Diego Simeone’s side still have another game in hand left with a seven-point advantage over Real.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.