Barcelona began their Copa del Rey title defence with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Linares Deportivo on the road to advance to the Round of 16, here on Thursday.
Second-half goals from Ousmane Dembele and Ferran Jutgla in the 63rd and 69th minutes respectively, spared Barca’s blushes after they had struggled to create a clear chance against Linares, a rival that plays in the Primera Division (third tier of the Spanish game.)
Linares had already knocked Alaves out of the competition and looked to pressure Barca high up the field and they took the lead in the 19th minute when veteran striker Hugo Daiz headed home a cross from the right.
Barca coach Xavi Hernandez brought Dembele into the game for the start of the second half and the winger, who has yet to sign a new contract, was their best player.
He leveled the score with a left-foot shot in the 63rd minute, which Linares keeper, Brimah Razak could maybe have done better with, and helped stretch the Linares defense.
Jutgla scored an excellent goal on the break six minutes later to put Barca ahead, but Linares were close to an equalizer when Cristian Carracedo’s curling shot bounced back off the woodwork.
Real Madrid avoided a repeat of last season’s exit to third-tier Alcoyano with a 3-1 win against the same team.
Eder Militao put Madrid ahead in the first half with a header from a corner, but Alcoyano didn’t give up and drew level in the 66th minute with Daniel Vega’s excellent shot into the corner of the net.
Marco Asensio put Madrid back in front when his shot took a big deflection past home keeper Jorge Juan in the 76th minute and Isco took advantage of another rebound to add a third two minutes later.
Betis had few problems getting past Valladolid with a 3-0 win with goals from William Carballo, Nabil Fekir and Borja Iglesias, while Andres Martin saw Rayo Vallecano win 1-0 away to Mirandes.
Real Sociedad made hard work of their 3-2 win away to Leganes, with the game only resolved by Mikel Oyarzabal’s second-half penalty, while goals in the 68th and 82nd minute from Josep Gaya and Angel Rodriguez saw Mallorca come back from a goal down to win 2-1 in Eibar.
Atletico Baleares produced the upset of the day as they beat Celta Vigo 2-1 to claim their second top-flight scalp of the tournament after knocking out Getafe 5-0 in the previous round.
Manuel Martinez scored both goals for the home side, while Brais Mendez hit the target for Celta.