Valencia’s Central African Republic-French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia (L) challenges Barcelona’s Argentine ahead Lionel Messi through the Spanish league soccer match Valencia CF in opposition to FC Barcelona on the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on January 25, 2020. AFP
Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona hammered Leganes 5-0 on Thursday to advance to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey and ship a much-needed increase for brand spanking new coach Quique Setien.
Messi’s double, in addition to objectives from Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet and Arthur Melo rounded off an emphatic win at Camp Nou, the place Barca efficiently bounced again from Saturday’s shock La Liga loss away at Valencia.
“We did a lot of things well but I am not completely happy because we also lost control of the game in the latter stages of the first half,” mentioned Setien.
Defeat at Mestalla allowed Real Madrid to tug three factors clear on the prime of the league and put early stress on Setien, who changed Ernesto Valverde as coach earlier this month.
His appointment can be judged on performances within the league and Champions League this season however Barca have a wealthy latest historical past within the Copa del Rey, which they’ve received in 4 of the final 5 years.
They can be in Friday’s draw for the final eight the place, regardless of plenty of upsets, they be part of a familiar-looking subject.
Real Madrid, Valencia, Real Sociedad, Granada, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao are already by, with Sevilla to face Mirandes afterward Thursday.
A house tie within the final 16 in opposition to La Liga’s backside membership at all times regarded a form route again to profitable methods for Setien’s facet, whose subsequent 4 league fixtures now embrace Levante, Getafe and Eibar, all at residence, in addition to a visit to Real Betis.
Victories in these video games would give Setien momentum however performances can be vital too given his arrival was as a lot about altering Barcelona’s type as their outcomes.
After a ponderous show in opposition to Valencia, they outclassed Leganes, who pressed excessive from the beginning, regardless of early indications suggesting this Barcelona crew may wrestle extra in opposition to opponents that sit deep.
Before the sport, the Catalans’ membership director Guillermo Amor dominated out shopping for one other striker earlier than the top of the January switch window on Friday, that means Griezmann is prone to step into the position of the injured Luis Suarez down the center.
“There may be a risk of injuries but I have confidence in the players I have,” mentioned Setien. “It wasn’t to be and that’s fine with me. We have to think about what we have and we are happy because in a few weeks we will have Dembele back too.”
Griezmann made his case by opening the scoring after 4 minutes as Nelson Semedo in the reduction of for the Frenchman to manage and poke residence his thirteenth aim of the season.
Another Griezmann strike was dominated out shortly after, just for Lenglet to go in Messi’s nook on the close to put up to place Barcelona two up after 27 minutes.
Messi made it three after springing in behind simply earlier than the hour after which Arthur Melo, on for Griezmann, added one other, banging in after each Ansu Fati and Messi had been denied.
Leganes have been completed however Messi had yet another aim left in him as he latched onto Ivan Rakitic’s go and rounded Pichu Cuellar, earlier than ending for his nineteenth of the season and third beneath a relieved Setien.