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[[DES_1]]After beating Espanyol 4-1 in the first leg at the Camp Nou, FC Barcelona were already well on course for a place in Friday’s Copa del Rey quarter finals draw. On Wednesday night, a brace from Munir was enough to secure another win at the RCDE Stadium and round off a convincing aggregate victory of 6-1.
Luis Enrique had opted to leave Neymar on the bench, starting with Munir as his main striker, and Leo Messi just behind, flanked by new additions Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal.
The game got off to a lukewarm start, with neither keeper called upon until Messi’s 12th minute blast was well saved by Espanyol’s Bardi. From there the half plodded on with little of the intensity of the two other encounters between the sides this month.
With a three-goal cushion going into the game, Barça were in no hurry yet still produced almost all of the football, with Espanyol offering very little cause for concern.
Munir seals the deal
Then in the 32nd minute, Messi slipped a Ballon d’Or quality through ball to Munir, and the 20-year old skipped through the Espanyol backline before slotting the ball away. 1-0 to Barça and the quarter finals beckoned!
The home side reacted by upping the tempo and very nearly pulled one back at the end of the half when Ter Stegen got a hand to what looked like a certain goal for Caicedo.
Espanyol’s Ecuadorian striker continued to look lively immediately after the break, but Barça soon managed to take the sting out the game. The second half was going to be a mere formality unless Espanyol pulled something exceptional out of the bag. And with the visiting side in comfortable control of the possession, the chances of that happening were decidedly slim.
Espanyol boss Constantin Galca opted to reinforce his frontline, but too no avail. Major incidents were few and far between as the seconds ticked by, but with just two minutes left on the clock, Barça managed to round things off nicely with their second. New boys Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal combined to set things up on a plate for Munir to tap home his second.
Moments later it could easily have been three when Vidal was finely poised to score but instead opted for a pass to Mascherano that was intercepted.
Rather than a stunning performance, it had been a night of getting the job done. And that job was done very well indeed. Now it’s a case of waiting until Friday to find out who Barça will be meeting next.
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