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Not many people had even heard of Intercity CF before this game. They certainly have now! Barça may have progressed in the end but only after the side from the outskirts of Alicante, and which was only founded five years ago, had managed to cancel out goals from the Liga leaders no fewer than three times.
A thoroughly entertaining encounter was eventually won by FC Barcelona thanks to Ansu Fati’s goal in extra time.
Barça will find out who they are playing in the last sixteen in Saturday's draw at 1pm CET. The game will be played on January 17, 18 or 19, following the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.
They may have been facing a third tier tea, but Xavi was well aware that these games are often far trickier than they may seem to be on paper. Iñaki Peña took Ter Stegen’s place in goal, and a few less common starters got into the side, but it was still a very strong eleven that started the game.
And after Ronald Araujo celebrated his return from injury by nodding in a simple header from a corner after just four minutes, it might have looked like Barça were going to roll this.
Indeed the top flight team were utterly dominating the game and creating chance after chance after chance. But some wasteful finishing up front meant they were unable to extend on their lead.
Intercity hit back once...
And although Barça never looked uncomfortable with their lead, there were a few warnings from the home side.
Aaron Piñan almost topped an impressive charge by slotting home the equaliser, but Araujo got back in time to block the shot and the same player brought out a fine save from Peña before Intercity struck.
Oriol Soldevila fired in from close range and against all the odds the home fans were celebrating an equaliser.
The goal really woke up the Primera Division RFEF side. Barça looked truly rattled before Ousmane Dembélé collected a Gavi pass and topped a fine run with a sublimely well-executed finish.
The shock behind them, Barça now looked set to cruise to the finish line. But Intercity still hadn’t had their final say. A Soldevila header had them back level at 2-2.
The joy for the home fans only lasted three minutes. Jordi Alba placed a ridiculously perfect ball across the face of the Intercity goal and Raphinha met it to put Barça ahead for the third time.
It was turning into a most extraordinary game of football. No sooner had home keeper Gaizka Campos made a staggering save to deny Raphinha than Marcos Alonso was robbed in midfield and Soldevila completed his hat-trick.
This was some day for the 21-year-old. A Barça member since he was born and who two seasons ago was playing in the Barça U19 team will not be forgetting this one in a hurry.
Ansu Fati settles it
This game went into extra time. And just before the overtime interval, Barça broke the deadlock for the fourth time. Ansu Fati was a little fortunate that his strike from the edge of the area took a deflection on the way in, but that was 4-3.
Surely Intercity weren’t going to do it again? They certainly gave it a go but Barça weren’t in the mood for any more surprises. 4-3 it ended and there would no blaugrana blushes and Xavi and his side march on to the last sixteen.
But every credit goes to Intercity for putting up such a tremendous fight. What a game!
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