Barcelona were made to work hard for their 1-0 victory by a determined UE Cornella outfit on a difficult pitch earlier today in the Copa del Rey. The Segunda B minnows had shocked Atletico Madrid in the previous round of the tournament and nearly pulled off another heist against an underwhelming Barcelona side.
Ronald Koeman rested several first-team stars in a bid to keep his side fresh ahead of a hectic schedule. Barcelona created several chances throughout the game but shockingly missed two penalties and had to rely on an exceptional strike by Ousmane Dembele in extra time to win the game.
Barcelona struggled against Cornella's stubborn defence
Barcelona dominated the ball in the opening stages of the game but struggled to move past Cornella's deep block. The likes of Miralem Pjanic and Riqui Puig saw plenty of the ball but were unable to unlock Cornella's staunch defence.
The best chances of the opening half-hour surprisingly fell to the Segunda B side but a combination of inaccurate finishing and good defensive work by Ronald Araujo spared Barcelona's blushes. The Catalan giants did win a penalty towards the end of the first half but a stunning save from the Cornella goalkeeper kept the scores level going into the half-time interval.
Barcelona started the second half with more purpose as Martin Braithwaite tested the Cornella goal with an instinctive shot. Cornella continued to pile players behind the ball but conceded another penalty in the second half. Ousmane Dembele stepped up to the spot but was thwarted by yet another save as Cornella stayed in the game. Barcelona created several chances towards the end of the game but were unable to avoid extra time.
Ousmane Dembele stepped up to the plate for the Catalans and found the back of the net with a powerful strike to give Barcelona the lead in the first two minutes of extra time. Cornella were reduced to ten men towards the end of the game and Pedri and Martin Braithwaite took full toll of the Catalans' numerical advantage to add some shine to a hard-fought victory with a late goal.
UE Cornella Player Ratings
Ramon Juan Ramirez - 7.5/10
Ramon Juan Ramirez followed up on his block from Trincao's volley with an excellent penalty save to deny Barcelona the opening goal in the first half. The Cornella shot-stopper made yet another penalty save in the second half and enjoyed the most memorable 90 minutes of his life. Ramirez could have done better with Ousmane Dembele's strike but will be largely happy with his performance.
Pol Moreno - 6/10
Pol Moreno made a good block to thwart Antoine Griezmann's shot in the opening quarter of the game. The defender made several important interceptions and was a thorn in Barcelona's side.
Albert Estelles - 5/10
Albert Estelles conceded a penalty and was fortunate that Barcelona failed to make the most of their opportunity. The defender was sent off towards the end of the match for a rash tackle on Ronald Araujo.
Ivan Guzman - 6/10
Ivan Guzman put in an excellent shift on the right flank and created a few problems in the Barcelona penalty area with his crosses. Guzman was unable to contain Dembele, however, and was visibly tired towards the end of the game.
Gerard Martin - 6.5/10
Gerard Martin had a good game and effectively nullified Francisco Trincao for a majority of the game. The left-back was unable to push forward but ensured that Barcelona had to toil in the final third.
Albert Dorca - 6/10
Cornella midfielder Albert Dorca lost the ball in a dangerous area in the first half but did well to recover against a formidable Barcelona attack. The midfielder improved as the game progressed but was unable to make his mark against the Blaugrana.
Kevin Presa - 6.5/10
Kevin Presa did a commendable job in the first half and relentlessly harried the Barcelona midfield. The defensive midfielder picked up a booking in the second half and was taken off for Aschalew Sanmarti.
Eloy Gila - 6.5/10
Eloy Gila was one of his side's most creative players in the first half and occasionally troubled Barcelona with his inventive runs. The winger played 90 minutes of the game before being taken off in extra time.
Max Marcet - 6/10
Max Marcet put in a commendable shift on the right flank and was did plenty of defensive work to repel Barcelona's attacks. The winger was replaced in the second half as Cornella looked to pull off a shock victory.
Agus Medina - 5.5/10
Agus Medina tested Barcelona goalkeeper Neto with a long-range effort in the second half. The attacking midfielder saw very little of the ball towards the end of the game and failed to make the most of his chances.
Javier Ontiveros - 5/10
Javier Ontiveros had two excellent chances to open the scoring against Barcelona in the first half but was not accurate with his finishing. The Cornella striker's influence waned in the second half as Barcelona grew into the game.
Chiki - 6/10
Chiki was brought on to add to Cornella's goalscoring threat but was left isolated in the final third during his time on the pitch.
Gonzalo Carmona - 5.5/10
Barcelona's improvement in the second half prompted the introduction of Carmona but the Cornella attacker was unable to influence the match.
Aschalew Sanmarti - 6/10
Aschalew Sanmarti was a late entrant in the second half and was unable to make much of an impact on the game.
Alex Pla - 5.5/10
Alex Pla was an extra-time substitute for Cornella and barely had a touch of the ball as Barcelona dominated the proceedings.