Messi stars for Barca in Copa quarters

Florence Fletcher
January 12, 2018

With 28 minutes gone, they had their third. It will host the return match at Camp Nou Stadium the following week.

Ernesto Valverde's side are next in action on Thursday at home to Celta in the second leg of their last-16 Copa del Rey tie - the first leg having ended 1-1 - but Umtiti is not expected to be available. It's going to be interesting to see how they rise to the challenge of potentially knocking Barcelona out of the Copa on Thursday, and it could serve as a big spark to their season. Around the hour mark, a chant rung round the Camp Nou - 'Valverde, Valverde!' This might seem somewhat unremarkable, given that many teams chant the name of their manager, but until now the Barcelona support have been respectable, but not loving, of their head coach.

Jordi Alba (Barcelona) The Barcelona left-back has been completely liberated by the exit of Neymar in the summer and is back to his best form. Subs - Vermaelen 5, Dembele 6, Arnaiz 5. Subs - Radoja 5, Mendez 4, Gomez 4.

The France global has not played since suffering the problem in a 2-2 home draw against Celta Vigo on December 2. Good play down the left, Alba gets the cross into the Argentine and he makes no mistake in guiding a finish past Sergio!

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Messi quickly quashed any chance of Celta springing an upset.

Instead the Barcelona boss has promoted Arnaiz and Carles AleƱa from the second team after the 22-year-old forward scored the Catalan's only goal in the first leg before being rewarded with his La Liga debut during the weekend victory over Levante.

Messi's double took him to 46 goals in the Copa del Rey and saw him move up to 10th place in the competition's all-time list of scorers. "They look for each other and are happy to do so, because it is not just Alba assisting Messi".

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