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Five different players contributed goals on Wednesday evening as the Copa del Rey’s three-time defending champion, FC Barcelona, went full steam ahead into the last 16, easily sailing past Real Murcia, 5-0, before 68,775 fans on the Club's annual Member Solidarity Day at Camp Nou.
Paco Alcácer’s early score was a prelude to a second-half goal glut, in which Gerard Piqué, Aleix Vidal, Denis Suárez, and Jose Arnaiz all found the net to turn Barça’s 3–0 first leg win in Murcia into an 8-0 aggregate rout.
Despite the fact that first-year manager Ernesto Valverde had opted to rest a bevy of his most recognizable stars in both games, Murcia, currently one of the top teams in the Second Division B—the third tier in Spanish football—was no match for Barça’s firepower.
"You try to avoid getting a scare in these types of games," Valverde said. "And the best way to do that is to be dynamic and play with rhythm, which I think we did in both games."
With Messi, Suárez and Co. mere spectators, Barça’s still enviable lineup of bona fide regulars, experienced backups, and reserve squad rookies delivered a truckload of goals over the 180 minutes of football played between the two teams.
On the stroke of 15 minutes, Alcácer—who also opened the scoring in the first leg—nodded Vidal’s cross into the net for a 1-0 lead, which Barça would take into the locker room at halftime.
After the break, in the 56th, Vidal served up his second assist of the evening, slipping a nice pass underneath to Piqué, who toed in for Barça’s second goal of the evening and its fifth of the two-game tie.
But Vidal evidently wasn’t content to be merely the provider, and in the 60th minute the versatile 28-year-old Catalan headed in a cross from defender Nélson Semedo to make it 3–0 (6-0 agg).
Suárez made it 4–0 in the 74th, slipping behind the defense and finishing with aplomb.
In the 79th, Arnaiz, the Barça B player who scored while debuting for Barça in the first leg back in October, notched his second career goal and made it 5–0 with a knuckling blast from the edge of the penalty area.
"Every kid's dream is to play at Camp Nou," Arnaiz said. "And for me it has come true. I feel lucky to have played some minutes and to have scored another goal."
Barça, thus, is now one of 16 teams still standing in what began in August as an 83-team tournament.
Sevilla, Atlético Madrid, and Deportivo also went through on Wednesday night, while Real Sociedad and Athletic Club suffered major upsets and were knocked out by third-tier sides Lleida and Formentera, respectively.
Real Madrid, Celta Vigo, Leganés, Levante, and Numancia all qualified for the round of 16 on Tuesday night.
The final five teams in the last 16 will be determined on Thursday night, when La Liga mainstays Valencia, Villarreal, and Espanyol, among others, will be in action.
The pairings for the round of 16 will be drawn on Tuesday, December 6.
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