Cornella 0-2 Barcelona (aet): Dembele and Braithwaite drag Koeman's side through

By Sports Desk January 21, 2021

Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite scored in extra time to see Barcelona past a resilient Cornella 2-0 in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

Ronald Koeman's men had two penalties saved in normal time as they failed to break down the Segunda B side who famously knocked out Atletico Madrid in the previous round.

Miralem Pjanic and Dembele each missed from the spot but the latter eventually made the breakthrough with a powerful strike.

The visitors made sure of the win in the very last moment through Braithwaite to ensure there would be no repeat of Wednesday's action, when Real Madrid suffered one of the biggest shocks in the competition's history by losing to Alcoyano.

Barca struggled to turn possession into chances, their first real effort of note coming via a Francisco Trincao volley from Pjanic's corner that was parried by Ramon Juan.

Pjanic had the chance to break the deadlock from the spot after Ronald Araujo took a high foot to the head, but his penalty was expertly saved.

They started the second half with more purpose and should have scored when Martin Braithwaite shot straight at Ramon after Antoine Griezmann diverted the ball into his path.

Griezmann then blasted over the bar with the goal at his mercy after a clever quick free-kick from Pjanic, and Neto had to make a flying save to parry an Agus Medina strike barely a minute later.

Substitute Dembele was given the chance to get the breakthrough 11 minutes from time after another high boot in the box, this time from Pol Moreno on Clement Lenglet, but Ramon held his nerve and blocked the penalty from the middle of his goal.

Braithwaite sliced another clear chance wide of the right-hand post and Ramon came to the rescue again to tip a Pjanic half-volley onto the crossbar and away.

Yet within two minutes of the beginning of extra time, Ramon's resistance was broken, the keeper getting two hands to Dembele's strike from 20 yards out but unable to keep the ball out of the net.

Konrad de la Fuente almost made it 2-0 immediately after coming off the bench, but Ramon threw himself to his left to make another fine stop, before Albert Estelles earned a second booking in the closing moments for a poor challenge on the excellent Araujo.

With the final move of the game, Dembele combined expertly with Pedri, who unselfishly teed up Braithwaite to drill into the unguarded net.

What does it mean? Barca avoid more disappointment – just

This was the first time in their history that Barca had three consecutive games go to extra time, having twice gone the distance in the Supercopa de Espana.

After losing the final to Athletic Bilbao, it was important for Koeman's changed side to respond here and he will be relieved that they eventually found a way through.

With the two Madrid giants already out, the Copa del Rey looks like Barca's safest bet for silverware this season.

Ramon-believable

Ramon made seven excellent saves, including the two penalties, and he will be furious he could only parry Dembele's shot into the top-left corner.

Still, were it not for their keeper, Cornella could well have suffered a straightforward defeat in normal time. 

Puig poor

Riqui Puig has found it difficult to convince Koeman at times and this was not a performance to earn the trust of his coach.

The midfielder, booked for dissent seven minutes in, managed no shots, crosses or key passes and was taken off at half-time.

What's next?

Barca are back in LaLiga action away to Elche on Sunday.

Related items

  • Chiellini feels De Ligt 'has everything', hopes Raiola does not alter Juve future Chiellini feels De Ligt 'has everything', hopes Raiola does not alter Juve future

    Giorgio Chiellini hopes Matthijs de Ligt is not taken away from Juventus by agent Mino Raiola, as he feels his defensive colleague already "has everything".

    Now 37, Juve captain Chiellini is in the final years of his career, but the future of the Turin giants appears to be in the hands of De Ligt.

    The former Ajax captain is still just 22 and is settled in Serie A in his third season with the Bianconeri.

    De Ligt underwhelmed a little following his €75million transfer to Italy but has since performed well, last committing an error leading to a chance in the league in his debut 2019-20 season.

    Although De Ligt has been limited to six appearances this term, with veteran duo Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci preferred against Inter on Sunday, he is certainly becoming a more dominant defender.

    No Juve defender is contesting (4.5) or winning (3.4) more aerial duels per 90 than De Ligt in 2021-22, while his overall duel success rate for the season is up significantly to 67.4 per cent.

    Indeed, Chiellini believes De Ligt has the full package, telling DAZN: "He's very strong, I call him Thor.

    "If he had been Italian, it would have been easier to keep him for many years, I hope that Mino will give us the pleasure of leaving him a few more years in Turin.

    "He has everything, but the difference is made in the head; he is 22 years old but has the mentality of someone of 30, and he sets himself the goal of wanting to improve every day."

    De Ligt arrived at Juve as Andrea Barzagli retired, but he still finds himself competing with the other two members of the great 'BBC' back line.

    That might not have been the case, however, as Bonucci briefly left for Milan – a move that upset Chiellini.

    "I was hurt. That Milan was a team in difficulty, it was not Real Madrid or even Milan of now," he said. "Today it would be different, but at the time going there meant taking a clear step back.

    "The choices remain personal and must be respected, but if we had been on holiday together that summer I would have made him understand that he was making a mistake. He realised it very soon."

    Chiellini also could have been out the door by now, revealing he considered retiring following the coronavirus outbreak but played on to star at Euro 2020, where Italy won the title.

    "I lived a hard period after my injury," Chiellini said. "I returned after six months and shortly after COVID broke out, and for almost a year I struggled to find the right balance.

    "The thought of retirement made its way into my head but it was the European Championship that kept me going with the desire to be there at all costs."

  • NFL Fantasy Picks: Jones to benefit from Packers' receiver woes, Pitts a must-start NFL Fantasy Picks: Jones to benefit from Packers' receiver woes, Pitts a must-start

    With the NFL approaching the midway point of its season, time is running out to stack fantasy wins and make a run at the postseason.

    Whether you're right in the mix or on the outside looking in, now is the moment to go on a run and ensure you will be playing in the championship bracket.

    The best way to do that is to identify the players with the opportunity to produce a performance that can serve as the backbone of a matchup-winning effort.

    Here Stats Perform looks at four offensive players and a defense who are well-positioned to do just that in Week 8.

     

    Quarterback: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions

    Hurts is developing a reputation as the king of garbage time stats and, though fantasy owners may not have the benefit of him playing from behind in garbage time this week, he does have an extremely favorable matchup to exploit.

    Through his abilities as a dual-threat quarterback, Hurts has accounted for 2,077 yards of offense and 15 touchdowns so far this season.

    He is averaging 245.1 passing yards per game and 51.5 yards on the ground. Going against a Detroit defense ranked 30th in yards per play, Hurts is a strong candidate to deliver gaudy fantasy numbers.

    Running Back: Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals

    On the surface, Jones' matchup with a Cardinals defense ranked eighth in opponent yards per play allowed is a tough one.

    However, only the Los Angeles Chargers are allowing more yards per rush than the Cardinals (4.97), and Jones should see a heavy workload on the ground and through the air.

    Indeed, with Davante Adams a doubt after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and Allen Lazard out for the same reason, Jones - who is second on the Packers behind Adams with 26 receptions - could see a bump in targets from Aaron Rodgers.

    Always a must-start as Green Bay's lead back, Jones' performance on Thursday could be a decisive one for fantasy owners, especially those who play in points per reception leagues.

    Wide Receiver: Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots

    The Chargers will be out to get back on track as they return from a bye week following their Week 6 shellacking at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens.

    And they will be hopeful of hitting on several explosive plays against a Patriots defense that has given up its fair share.

    The Patriots have conceded 77 passes of 10 yards or more, the seventh-most in the NFL.

    That should be music to the ears of Williams, who has eight receptions of 20 yards or more, four games with at least seven receptions and a touchdown and two 100-yard performances. Expect this big-play threat to exploit a vulnerable New England secondary to a significant extent.

    Tight End: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers

    The Falcons are surging, and much of that is down to the play of rookie tight end Pitts, who is living up to the reputation that saw him picked fourth overall in this year's draft by Atlanta.

    Pitts has at least eight targets in each of his last three games and goes into Week 8 on the back of successive 100-yard performances.

    Having clearly earned the trust of quarterback Matt Ryan, Pitts is receiving the target share and delivering the production to make him a must-start regardless of a tough matchup against a Panthers defense allowing the third-fewest yards per play in the NFL.

    Defense: San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears

    The 49ers are firmly in must-win mode having dropped to 2-4, and the foundation for a winning effort in Chicago appears more likely to be laid by the defense.

    San Francisco forced a pair of turnovers in the Week 7 loss to the Colts and the Niners' chances of adding to their takeaway tally seem strong with Chicago's rookie quarterback Justin Fields having thrown at least one interception in four of his seven appearances.

    Fields committed five turnovers in Chicago's blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last time out and a 49ers' front led by one of the NFL's premier pass rushers in Nick Bosa should be confident of forcing him into more.

  • T20 World Cup: England complete dominant victory against Bangladesh T20 World Cup: England complete dominant victory against Bangladesh

    England romped to another impressive win at the T20 World Cup as they beat Bangladesh by eight wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

    Jason Roy starred as he plundered 61 from 38 balls, helping his team ease to the 125-run target set by their opponents for victory with almost six overs remaining.

    Bangladesh won the toss and chose to bat first. They got off to a promising start, putting 10 runs on the board in the first over, with Liton Das hitting Moeen Ali for two boundaries.

    However, things soon turned as Moeen (2-18) took two wickets in two balls in the third over, and from there the runs dried up as the wickets steadily fell.

    Chris Woakes (1-12) and Liam Livingstone (2-15) impressed with the ball, and the only moment that resembled a fightback from Bangladesh was in the 19th over when Adil Rashid (0-35) was hit for 17, including the only two sixes of the innings from Nasum Ahmed (19).

    A solid final over with the ball from Tymal Mills (3-27) saw just four runs scored, with two wickets coming in the final two balls of the innings to leave Bangladesh on 124-9 from their 20 overs, a total England comfortably reached.

    Roy sets tone for England reply

    Roy smashed the first ball of the innings for four and Jos Buttler hit 18 from 18 balls before falling to Nasum (1-26).

    Dawid Malan (28 not out) continued the England momentum but it was five fours and three sixes from Roy in exactly an hour at the crease which did most of the heavy lifting for England.

    The opener was out before the end when he hit a Shoriful Islam (1-26) ball into the hands of Nasum, allowing Jonny Bairstow (eight not out) to see his team home with 35 balls still remaining, giving Eoin Morgan's side their second win in as many games in the tournament.

    Moeen makes swift progress

    Bangladesh had not had a display of Roy's ilk in their own top order thanks to the exploits of Moeen with the ball. Quickly recovering from a potentially damaging first over, the spinner mopped up Das and Mohammad Naim from consecutive balls to reduce Bangladesh to 14-2.

    Those were Moeen's third and fourth power play wickets at this World Cup, only trailing Maheesh Theekshana (five) in that regard. Despite the initial wobble, he has also managed an economy rate of 5.5 and a dot ball rate of 64 per cent in this period.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.