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Madrid ends winless run with late Asensio goal in Copa

19 January 2018

Barcelona continues its run at a fourth straight Copa del Rey title and a record 30th overall when it travels to city rival Espanyol for the first leg of their quarterfinal clash on Wednesday.

Barca, who lost for the first time this season against Espanyol - face Real Betis at the weekend.

Oscar Melendo scored the only goal of a game of few chances after Lionel Messi had seen his second-half penalty brilliantly saved by Diego Lopez at Cornella-El Prat. The last game they had lost in any competition was in the Spanish Super Cup to Real Madrid on August 16. The second leg of the tie will take place January 25 at the Nou Camp. From there, the game went in a direction we didn't want and we complicated things. "But I hope the best is yet to come". "We know already playing Espanyol at Cornella is hard".

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Ernesto Valverde's men were in full control in the latter stages of the half but they found it tough to break down the the hosts.

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. Valverde went ahead with an unusual team selection.

Valverde said: "I liked my team a lot".

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"As well, they will try to take advantage of playing at home".

Barca had Luis Suarez on the bench, and with Andres Iniesta and Ousmane Dembele out injured, they had Denis Suarez and Aleix Vidal either side of Messi in attack.

"Rafinha is one more player that can help us", Valverde said.

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Madrid ends winless run with late Asensio goal in Copa