Barcelona overcame Linares to reach the Copa del Rey round of 16.
Barca coach Xavi decided to give Dani Alves his second debut as he occupied the right wing-back position in a 3-5-2 formation, while the likes of Ronald Araujo, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were all named in the starting line-up.
Linares, who play in Group II of the Primera RFEF, were the side who started the game the quicker, but Barcelona had the first clear chance to score through Araujo. Alves’ pinpoint corner from the left was met by the Uruguayan, who rose highest but saw his header towards the far post go just wide.
Linares took a surprise lead through Hugo Diaz. Fran Carnicer sent in a cross from the right and Diaz got away from Oscar Mingueza to get his head on the end of it and guide the ball beyond the reach of Neto.
Xavi was clearly unhappy with his team’s performance and opted to make three changes at the break, with Gerard Pique, Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele coming on for Araujo, Riqui Puig and Ilias.
The introduction of Dembele in particular saw the Linares defenders begin to panic, and it took 18 minutes before the Frenchman got Barcelona back in the game. After receiving a pass from Mingueza, Dembele shifted the ball away from Alvaro Barbosa and sent a left-footed shot towards goal that made its way into the bottom left corner, although perhaps Linares ‘keeper Brimah Razak should have done a bit better.
It then felt inevitable that Barcelona would go on and grab a winner, and so they did. Linares had the ball in the back of Barcelona’s net in the 67th minute, but Hugo Diaz was adjudged to have interfered from an offside position, and one minute later the Catalans were ahead.
Ferran Jutgla received the ball on the left wing and came inside before turning Linares centre-back Lolo Guerrero inside out and firing into the far corner of Razak’s goal to give Barcelona the lead.
That second goal for Barca was enough to see them through against a gallant Linares on the night.
Need a VPN? Or seeking to switch? Then support Tribal Football by clicking here to sign up with our official partners NordVPN. Not only will you receive the best VPN experience, but also great discounts by signing up via Tribal Football. Thanks for your support!