Espanyol 1 Barcelona 0: Melendo ends unbeaten run

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Melendo, 20, came on as a second-half substitute and picked the right time to score his first senior goal for the other Barcelona-based club.

Barça had not lost against Espanyol since 2009 and this was their first defeat by their local rivals in the Cup since 1970.

Handed a rare opportunity to shine, Vidal's struggles reportedly infuriated Messi as the Spaniard failed to link-up successfully with his team-mates on a bad night for the Catalan giants.

Samuel Umtiti is edging closer to making a return to action but Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde suggests that the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals against Espanyol on Wednesday night [17 January] will come too soon for the France worldwide. Lionel Messi is the most expected player in today's match and Barcelona is already securing a place in the semifinals in the first leg.

Despite Barca's domination, that was the final piece of goal-mouth action in the first half which saw the sides head into the break goalless. "The positive thing is that in a week we have a chance to rebound and advance".

"The penalty save gave us the boost that we needed", Melendo said.

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"We bore the brunt of the game and they waited for us to take advantage of their game plan", Valverde said after the match. "We know already playing Espanyol at Cornella is hard".

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde did not use all of the team's regular starters, leaving players such as Luis Suarez on the bench.

The Barca keeper tipped over a Marc Navarro free kick in the 83rd minute, before Melendo scored his goal which leaves Barca with work to do in next week's return leg.

In an incident that will likely result in a sanction for Espanyol, Barca goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen appeared to get caught in the face by something thrown from the stands 13 minutes from the end.

Real Madrid is coming off a 1-0 loss to Villarreal.

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