Barcelona's French forward Ousmane Dembele (2R) celebrates his second goal with teammates during the Spain's Copa del Rey (King's Cup) round of 16 second leg football match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Janua
Copa del Rey, Camp Nou - Barcelona 3 (Dembele 29', 30' Messi 54') Levante 0 (4-2 on aggregate)
Ousmane Dembele inspired Barcelona to a 3-0 Copa del Rey win over Levante (4-2 on aggregate), sending the defending champions into the competition’s quarter-finals.
The Catalans had some work to do coming into the second leg having lost 2-1 at Ciudad de Valencia last week. However, Ernesto Valverde’s side never looked troubled by the visitors and claimed a comfortable win.
Barca started slowly, but took the lead after 29 minutes when Dembele was played through by Lionel Messi, only for Erick Cabaco to bounce a clearance off the legs of the French winger and into the back of the net.
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates a goal during the Spain's Copa del Rey (King's Cup) round of 16 second leg football match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on January 17, 2019
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And Dembele doubled his, and Barcelona's advantage, soon after, once again finding the net somewhat fortuitously, with Aitor Fernandez somehow diving past the winger’s shot from a tight angle, deflecting it over the line when it might have been going wide. Messi added his name to the score sheet with a chipped finish in the second half, putting Barca out of sight.
However, Barcelona may yet be eliminated after Levante
TALKING POINT - This shows Ernesto Valverde can rest Luis Suarez from time to time
There’s no denying that Barcelona are a better, more complete, team with Luis Suarez leading the line. However, their reliance on him sometimes results in the Uruguayan growing weary. The Catalans need Suarez to be fresh over the coming weeks and months and so it was encouraging for them to see that they can still play to a high level without the former Liverpool man in the team. Valverde must rest him more often to keep him for the big occasions when they really need him.
Ernesto Valverde, Manager of Barcelona
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MAN OF THE MATCH - Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)
It’s true that Dembele was handed a big slice of luck in the way his two goals crossed the line, but nonetheless, the Frenchman was the best, most effective player on the pitch for Barcelona. Levante couldn’t deal with his pace. Dembele cut them open at will, with Messi more than willing to provide the ammunition from deep. This was a demonstration of what the winger can offer Barca and why he has become so important to them.
Barcelona's French forward Ousmane Dembele celebrates a goal during the Spain's Copa del Rey (King's Cup) round of 16 second leg football match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on January 17, 2019
25’ What a save! That could have been the opener for Barcelona. Messi shoots across goal, with the ball heading for the far corner of the net, but Aitor makes the save to deny him. Goes behind for a corner.
29’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Levante (2-2 on aggregate): Barcelona are ahead on the night and ahead in the tie! They got more than a generous share of luck with that goal, though. Messi threaded through Dembele, but Cabaco then made his clearance off the French winger and the ball bounces into the net.
31’ GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Levante (3-2 on aggregate): Another highly fortunate goal! And it's Dembele again! Messi played him in on goal, the Frenchman rounded Aitor in goal, but then scuffed his shot and somehow the goalkeeper dived beyond the ball! What was that?!
38’ Messi should score! It's not often that we see the Barcelona number 10 thwarted by the goalkeeper like that. Dembele put Messi through, but he couldn't beat Aitor from close range.
53’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... NO! For a moment, it looked like Barcelona had a third goal, with Coutinho stroking home. But the flag was up and it is chalked off.
54’ GOAL! Barcelona 3-0 Levante (4-2 on aggregate): Messi gets his goal and Barcelona are now out of sight! Wonderful play from Semedo, who squares for Messi. The Argentinian then takes the touch to set himself and then clips the finish past Aitor. Great goal.
Ousmane Dembele became the first Barcelona player to score in four different competitions this season - Spanish Supercup, La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey.
Lionel Messi now has 49 goals in the Copa del Rey over his career, the second most of any Barcelona player in history.
Barcelona have now progressed in 22 successive ties in the Copa del Rey.