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MATCH REPORT: Barça next round bound with 4–1 win over Cultural

MATCH REPORT: Barça next round bound with 4–1 win over Cultural

Denis Suárez notches a brace and Munir and Malcom chip in a goal apiece as Barça move on to the last 16 in the Copa del Rey; 19-year-old Riqui Puig makes official debut, grabs first assist

Denis Suárez scored once in each half and Munir El Haddadi and Malcom Oliveira chipped in with one goal apiece as FC Barcelona cruised to a 4–1 victory at Camp Nou on Wednesday night to qualify for the Copa del Rey’s round 16, 5-1 on aggregate.

Barça’s 19-year-old midfielder, Riqui Puig made his official first team debut in minute 55, coming on in relief of Oriol Busquets. Puig then proceeded to rack up his first career assist with a stellar pass that set up Suárez’s second goal of the evening, which came in the 70th minute.

Josep Señé pulled one back for Cultural in the 54th. Malcom left the game with an ankle injury late in the second half.

Barça, which won the first leg in León, 1–0, back on October 31, ran out to a 3-0 lead (4–0 aggregate) by halftime, essentially sealing the victory before the game was even 45 minutes old.

Although the Catalans were facing a Cultural Leonesa side currently in the Second Division B  — equivalent to the Spanish third tier — the atmosphere at Camp Nou was festive and boisterous, as some 76,000-plus fans came out for Member Solidarity Day on an unseasonably warm December night, with game-time temperatures hovering around 57ºF (14ºC).

Munir staked Barça out to a 1–0 lead in the 18th minute. Ivan Rakitic slid a pass to the striker just beyond the penalty spot, and the 23-year-old Spaniard settled, spun around, and fired beyond the reach of Cultural goalkeeper Jorge Palatsí Gallego and into the upper right corner.

Denis doubled the Barça lead on 26 minutes when he dribbled in towards the Cultural penalty area and, before reaching box, curled a low shot across from left to right, beating Palatsí Gallego just inside the same post.

Malcom rounded out the scoring in the first half when, camped out just beyond the six-yard box, he solidly nodded in a Suárez cross from the right flank. As the crowd bellowed out a cacophonous roar, the 21-year-old Brazilian rookie lept into the air and pumped his fist with pride.

The rout was on.

Força Barça
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