Copa del Rey wrap 10 January 2019

Paola Ditto
Gennaio 11, 2019

Barcelona's recent iron grip on the Copa del Rey came under threat as they lost 2-1 at Levante in their last-16 first-leg tie on Thursday after resting a host of first team regulars, including Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

"The tie is open after Coutinho's goal", Busquets told reporters after the 2-1 loss.

Levante did have their second in the 18th minute, however, when Boateng's clever pass found Borja Mayoral and the on-loan Real Madrid forward managed to squeeze his low effort through Murillo's legs and into the back of the net.

However, the Camp Nou outfit finally got a chance to reduce the deficit after being awarded a spot kick - which Philippe Coutinho successfully converted to hand his side an away goal advantage ahead of the second leg a week later.

Ernesto Valverde's no.2 Aspiazu was asked about Coutinho's recent form, where he made some interesting comments. "It's a risk, maybe, but these are the risks we take". The Brazilian, the club's record signing at €160 million, had endured a frustrating night before scoring the late penalty.

It was also a mixed night for Coutinho, who has been left on the bench in Barcelona's last four league games. I will say the same about Dembele.

Barcelona assistant manager Jon Aspiazu spoke of Philippe Coutinho's current form, suggesting that Ousmane Dembele is now outperforming his teammate. Both of them have played tonight.

"But, come on, one or the other is almost always playing".

"Coutinho is a great player who has given us a lot and will give us a lot". There's tough competition here.

"It's hard to come into the side, too, when you've not been playing [regularly] and you have less confidence and rhythm".

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