Barcelona came from a goal down to beat Linares 2-1 at Estadio Municipal de Linarejos on Wednesday night in the Copa del Rey.
Hugo Diaz fired the hosts into a 19th minute lead only for Ousmane Dembele – a second-half substitute – to equalise three minutes after the hour mark. Ferran Jutgla won it six minutes later.
The result means that Barcelona progress into the next round of the Copa, a competition they of course won last season after beating Athletic Club 4-0 in the final at La Cartuja.
Linares have proven themselves a difficult side to play during their Copa campaign. They beat Gimnastic on penalties in the first round before knocking Alaves out in the second.
Barcelona, due to their Supercopa de Espana commitments, have only just entered the Copa, and they’ll view it as one of the only competitions they can win this season.
A late bid to challenge Real Madrid for La Liga is unlikely, while they’ve already been knocked out of the Champions League. All that’s left for the Blaugrana is the Copa and the Europa League.
“It’s an important victory that means we pass to the second round,” Xavi said post-match in comments carried by Marca.
“It was difficult for us to understand how to dominate midfield and find the final pass, which is where our talent should shine. In the second half we were better.
“But it was a tight game and nothing was easy. This victory is one more step. At half-time, I told them it was going to be a victory of faith, of believing, of taking advantage of opportunities. We made it through and I’m happy.”