Copa del Rey Report: Levante v FC Barcelona 10 January 2019

Barca's Munir El Haddadi

Barcelona risk crashing out of this season's Copa Del Rey tournament early following their 2-1 defeat to Levante in the first leg of the round of 16 clash at the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia on Thursday night.

"The tie is open after Coutinho's goal", Busquets told reporters after the 2-1 loss.

The return leg of this tie is one of three matches Barca must negotiate within the space of eight days, but this disappointing result leaves Valverde with little scope to rest the likes of Messi, Suarez and Gerard Pique next time around.

The hosts raced into a fourth-minute lead after Erick Cabaco headed past Jasper Cillessen, before the lead was doubled thanks to Borja Mayoral's strike in the 20th minute.

He took his goal with aplomb and Mayoral was an influential factor throughout Levante's proactive performance.

Sevilla will take a commanding lead into the second leg on home soil after they defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-1 at San Mames.

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Coach Ernesto Valverde made particularly daring changes in defence, with new signing Jeison Murillo making his debut alongside B team players Juan Miranda and Chumi.

"It served us to evaluate players in some tough moments, like in a LaLiga game".

The Brazilian star joined the club last January in a deal worth an estimated 160 million euros but the recent form of the former Liverpool man has become noticeable of late. I will say the same about Dembele.

"Now, Dembele's playing and Coutinho's not and the reverse is happening". Both of them have played tonight. "Coutinho gives us a lot and will keep giving us a lot".

"This is a period of the season when fixtures come thick and fast and we will need to make rotations, I am aware of this and so are the players".

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