Facing Cornella on the road in Camp Municipal de Cornella, Barcelona won their Copa del Rey match Thursday, defeating the hosts 2-0 in extra time to advance into the round of 16. It was a game that needed extra time to build up competitive aspects, despite Barca holding more of the possession, and having two penalty kicks throughout the game.
In recent form, the team has looked a bit sluggish as of late, even with an in-form Messi. The club had to take on Cornella without their Argentinian captain due to suspension and struggled to generate offense throughout. Manager Ronald Koeman opted to rest Jordi Alba and Frenkie De Jong, while Ilaix Moriba was given a start in the midfield.
The game got off to a rocky start for the Blaugrana as Riqui Puig was issued an early yellow card, and a questionable moment of chaos in the box led to pleads for a penalty call. None was given and the two sides would spend time in dangerous spaces, but weren't clinical enough to open the goal scoring in the first half. Barcelona had four shots with two on target compared to Cornella's two shots and zero targeted attempts.
Barcelona were given a keen opportunity to close out the half ahead when they were awarded a penalty kick, but the attempt from Miralem Pjanic was denied from Ramon Juan Ramirez, who had more big saves down the stretch.
The breakthrough goal will still be sought after throughout the duration of the second half, as both sides continued their back and forth, with Barca finally creating better opportunities on goal, but Ramirez would continue to have an impressive game in net and kept the scoreline level throughout.
The keeper would come up big once again as Barcelona had another chance to put the game away on a penalty kick. Ousmane Dembele had an opportunity to be hero but his attempt down the middle was easily stopped by Ramiez to keep the game scoreless with two sides needing extra time to determine a winner.
Barcelona made quick work of Cornella in extra time, and Dembele wound up hero on the day after missing his penalty. In just the 92nd minute, the French international struck a stunning ball and the force behind it would bend the fingers of Ramirez who got a hand on it as the ball dipped under the crossbar.
With a sense of urgency, Cornella remained active, but a risky foul from Albert Estellés earned him a second yellow and Barcelona had a man advantage with just minutes remaining in the second period of extra time.
The dagger came from Martin Braithwaite, after some good combination from Dembele, Pedri, and Braithwaite would lure Ramirez out of goal for an open-netter.
Ramon Juan Ramirez, Cornella: The keeper is on the losing side but his heroics in goal kept his team in the match into extra time. Two penalty saves, and big stops along the way. Rating: 8
Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona: Has had his share of struggles in front of net this season but has been in good form recently. Wasn't on the scoreline but was active in dangerous spaces for Barca. Rating: 7
Miralem Pjanic, Barcelona: Did well to win balls and retain possession but an early missed penalty forced the team to work harder. Rating: 7
Barcelona have punched their ticket to the round of 16 and will continue their journey for the Copa del Rey. The Catalonians will be back in La Liga action on Sunday and have a chance to build on their third place standing when they take on Elche.