Ansu Fati saves Barcelona blushes after Intercity's Soldevila nearly powers Copa del Rey upset
- Ex-Barca youth player Soldevila scored hat-trick
- Almost caused huge upset
- But Barca advance to Copa del Rey last 16
TELL ME MORE: Barcelona took the lead three times inside 90 minutes, before squandering it on each occasion against a resilient third-tier, relegation-threatened Intercity side. Ronald Araujo stymied any early nerves for the visitors with a fourth-minute bullet header in his first appearance since September, and Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha would also convert. But Intercity stuck around, with former Barcelona youth player Oriol Soldevila at the centre of it all. The right midfielder bagged three goals and tormented a leggy Jordi Alba all evening.
But Barcelona's quality showed in extra-time and Ansu Fati played hero, skewing a deflected winner into the net.
THE MVP: Despite Ansu Fati's heroics, the best player on the pitch wasn't wearing a Barcelona shirt. In the end, it was a familiar face that proved to be the biggest obstacle to their round of 16 ambitions. Former La Masia youth player Soldevila bagged three wonderful goals for Intercity, and was a constant threat. The 21-year-old ran Alba ragged, too quick and too evasive for the aging full-back. And his opportunism in front of goal was vital. His first two strikes were remarkably similar — darts to the far post with tidy finishes. But the third was more impressive, a scamper down the pitch and classy nutmeg to send the contest to extra time.
THE BIG LOSER: With Robert Lewandowski given the night off, and soon to be suspended for three matches, Barcelona needed to find goals from somewhere. Although he was presented with numerous chances, Ferran Torres wasn't as clinical as needed in the final third. He's an odd player, and in the absence of Lewandowski, it's difficult to see what he brings to the side. Wednesday evening was his chance to earn himself a spot as the main man for the next month. He didn't take it.
MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Barcelona's gaze now turns to La Liga, where they will visit Atletico Madrid on Sunday. Xavi faces some selection issues; he will be without Lewandowski and Alba.
MATCH RATING (OUT OF FIVE): ⭐⭐⭐⭐