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Levante Hand Barcelona Copa Del Rey Shock

11 January 2019

Barcelona have work to do in their Copa del Rey tie with Levante after losing 2-1 to the Valencia-based outfit in the first leg of their last-16 clash on Thursday night.

Neither is expected to face Levante in the Copa del Rey on Thursday and Valverde refused to rule out the possibility of bolstering his options.

The absence of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez hampered the holders' hopes of extracting a result although they do have a goal to take back to Camp Nou on January 17 thanks to Philippe Coutinho's potentially pivotal 85th-minute penalty.

Valverde defended his team selection, insisting the injection of youngsters Juan Miranda and Chumi, along with new arrival Jeison Murillo, was a gamble worth taking.

The Granotas piled on the pressure, as Emmanuel Boateng's effort was saved by Jasper Cillessen, and deservedly doubled their lead after 17 minutes.

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The defending champions were heading for a convincing defeat following early goals from Erick Cabaco and Borja Mayoral, who is on loan from Barca's rivals Real Madrid.

The on-loan Los Blancos attacker then fired another attempt wide of the post moments later, before Malcom just failed to meet an Ousmane Dembele cross down the other end as Levante led 2-0 at the interval.

Ernesto Valverde's no.2 Aspiazu was asked about Coutinho's recent form, where he made some interesting comments.

However, the Camp Nou outfit finally got a chance to reduce the deficit after being awarded a spot kick - which Philippe Coutinho successfully converted to hand his side an away goal advantage ahead of the second leg a week later.

Arsenal target Denis Suarez was brought on however and won his side's penalty with six minutes remaining after a superb individual run down the inside right channel.

Levante Hand Barcelona Copa Del Rey Shock