Barcelona narrowly avoided Copa del Rey humiliation as Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite scored in an extra time win over Cornella after the Catalan giants missed two penalties.
Lionel Messi missed out for Barcelona as he served the first of a two match suspension for the red card he was shown in the Spanish Supercopa final defeat to Athletic Club on Sunday and the Catalan giants missed their top scorer and best player.
Barca started slowly, but were given the chance to open the scoring late on in the first half when Ronald Araujo was fouled inside the box. However, Miralem Pjanic saw his spot kick saved by Ramon Juan.
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And Ramon saved a second penalty kick in the second half, standing still to prevent Ousmane Dembele’s far from convincing spot kick effort down the middle from finding the back of the Cornella net.
The breakthrough finally came two minutes into extra time, though, when substitute Ousmane Dembele lashed home a powerful effort from over 20 yards out. And Barca doubled their advantage in the dying moments through Martin Braithwaite after Albert Estelles was sent off for Cornella.
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This was a chance for Barcelona to prove they could cope without Messi, who was missing through suspension. Instead, what was provided was yet more evidence of how important the Argentine is to Ronald Koeman’s side with Barca generally lethargic throughout. The introduction of Dembele and Pedri gave them more energy in the opposition half, but there was still a missing dimension to Barcelona’s play against a team they should have disposed of with relative ease.
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MAN OF THE MATCH - Ramon Juan (Cornella)
He might have ended up on the losing side, but there was no doubting who the star performer was on Cornella’s artificial pitch. Ramon saved two penalty kicks and made another stunning save right at the end of normal time to push a Pjanic effort on to the crossbar. While Cornella didn’t look out of their depth, their 21-year-old goalkeeper took them to extra time and gave them a chance of pulling off another Copa del Rey upset having already knocked out Atletico Madrid.
Cornella - Ramon 9, Estelles 4, Dorca 5, Presa 6, Eloy 6, Marcet 5, Guzman 5, Moren 6o, Borja 5, Medina 7, Ontiveros 5. Subs - Pla 5, Aschalew 4, Chiki 4, Gonzalo 4.
Barcelona - Neto 8, Mingueza 6, Lenglet 5, Araujo 7, Junior 5, Pjanic 5, Ilaix 7, Puig 5, Griezmann 5, Braithwaite 6, Trincao 4. Subs - Busquets 7, de la Fuente 7, Pedri 7, Dembele 7.
39’ PENALTY KICK TO BARCELONA! Estelles fouls Araujo inside the box and the referee points to the spot!
41’ PENALTY KICK SAVED! Wow! What a moment for Ramon! The Cornella goalkeeper goes the right way and makes a solid save to deny Pjanic from the spot! It's still level pegging!
80’ PENALTY KICK TO BARCELONA! Lenglet is pole-axed by a high foot in the box and Barca have a second spot kick!
81’ ANOTHER PENALTY KICK SAVED! Dembele steps up and it's a dreadful spot kick by the Frenchman! Ramon didn't even have to move to make the save with his foot! Incredible!
90’ What a save! Ramon is having the game of his life! This time he tips a drive from Pjanic on to the crossbar! That was inches away from being a late, late winner for Barcelona!
92’ GOAL! Cornella 0-1 Barcelona: At long last, Barcelona have found the back of the net and it's Dembele! The Frenchman took aim from 25 yards out and lashed home a finish! There was nothing Ramon could do about that! It was an unstoppable strike from Dembele!
118’ SENT OFF! Albert Estelles (Cornella) - the home side are reduced to 10 men after a late challenge by Estelles on Araujo by the corner flag. Cornella will finish the match with 10 men.
120’ GOAL! Cornella 0-2 Barcelona: Barcelona put the finishing touches on the victory. Pedri burst into the Cornella penalty area completely unopposed, he squared for Braithwaite and the Danish striker finished into the empty net! Barca will be in the next round of the Copa.
Ramon Juan became the first goalkeeper in history to save two penalty kicks against Barcelona in the same game (excluding penalty shootouts).
This was the first time in Barcelona’s history that they have been taken to extra time in three successive games (Real Sociedad, Athletic Club and Cornella).