Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
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Copa del Rey wrap 10 January 2019

Copa del Rey wrap 10 January 2019

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) celebrates a goal with teammates during the Spanish League football match between Levante and Barcelona at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium in Valencia on December 16, 2018.

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.

But the Catalans were handed a huge boost heading into next Thursday's second leg at the Nou Camp when Denis Suarez was fouled in the penalty area and record-signing Philippe Coutinho converted the resulting spot kick in the 85th minute.

Erick Cabaco opened scoring for the hosts as early as the fourth minute of the encounter with Ruben Rochina claiming the assist for the goal.

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.

Barcelona pushed for the equaliser and came close late on through Dembele, but his strike was well saved by Fernandez as Levante secured an advantage from the first leg.

In the 18 man squad, most names are of the younger and academy players who are certainly going to get a chance to show their talent, however, there will be a few first teamers playing as well because Barcelona will certainly be looking to carry home a few away goals in the bag and need experienced men to do so.

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

Cillessen then had to keep out another effort from the lively Mayoral moments later, before Moses Simon tested Barcelona's second-choice goalkeeper from distance.

Denis Suarez - strongly linked with a move to Arsenal - came off the bench in the 67th minute as a replacement for Malcom, who struggled to make his mark on the night.

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