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Spain - Copa del Rey
Copa del Rey
January 22, 2014
• Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, Valencia
Referee: Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
• Attendance: 18852
N. El Zhar 31'
Juanfran 53' (own goal)
Tello 60', 81', 86'
Thank you very much for joining us for what was a dramatic contest. Make sure you stay with Goal for all the post-match reaction and fallout!
That really was a game of two halves! In the opening 45 minutes, Barcelona looked out of ideas and at 1-0 down appeared to be in serious trouble. The Levante own goal brought the scores level and from then on it was one-way traffic, with Tello's hat-trick - all from Messi assists - causing havoc. At 4-1 up, it looks like Barcelona are going to seal a spot in the Copa del Rey semi-finals after the second leg at Camp Nou.
90' + 2'
That's the full-time whistle - Levante 1-4 Barcelona!!
90' + 1'
The fourth official has indicated that there will be two minutes of additional time.
Alves is involved again as Jimenez claims his cut-back with a number of Barcelona bodies in the box.
More pressure from Barcelona as Alves' delivery squirms through to Jimenez. Time running out now - Levante don't have any answer.
This has been some second half performance from Barcelona. At 4-1, you have to think the tie is over. The equaliser was a bizarre own goal, but since then we have seen three Messi assists and three Tello goals - superb!
Almost five!! Alexis shoots but Jimenez gets down well to block.
GOAL!!! TELLO HAS HIS HAT-TRICK!! It is a carbon copy of the previous goals!! Messi finds space in the middle after receiving the ball from Alves and sends through Tello. The winger beats the offside trap and smashes his shot past Jimenez.
Messi is desperate for a goal, but it doesn't look like one is going to come his way this evening. From the resulting corner, he has another shot blocked, before another attempt moments later fails to find the target. Even without a goal though, his second-half performance has been decisive.
TELLO IS SO CLOSE TO A HAT-TRICK!! Tello shoots from the edge of the box and his effort looks destined for the top corner, only for Jimenez - who has had a difficult night - to produce a wonder-save that denies him. That goes some way towards making up for his errors.
GOAL!! 3-1 Barcelona!! Tello has his second goal of the evening! Messi's quick thinking sees him surge forward after a promptly taken free-kick and lay on another perfectly-weighted pass for the winger, who shoots past Jimenez. Yet again, the goalkeeper will be disappointed with his attempt to stop the shot.
Sergio Pinto wastes an opportunity to play in his strikers and time is starting to run out for the home side.
Song concedes a corner - Levante's first of the match, but Barca are able to clear comfortably.
Nabil El Zhar
Alexis replaces Pedro for Barcelona, while Nong is on for Levante to replace the goalscorer El Zhar.
Close from Messi! The Argentine is looking for a goal to mark his 400th game but a last-ditch block denies him. Meanwhile, both sides look set to make substitutions.
Barcelona are looking very comfortable now, keeping possession at will and seemingly waiting for the ideal moment to strike.
Pedro twists and turns at the edge of the box but Juanfran is there to block and clear for another corner.
Change for Levante - Barral is replaced with Angel Rodriguez coming on to replace him.
Yellow Card Adriano
Quiet spell in the game now as Levante look to make an impact but struggle to get hold of the ball. Song is penalised for a foul on the halfway line.
GOOD SAVE! Xavi comes close to scoring! Messi and Tello combine before the Argentine's blocked shot falls to Xavi. The Spaniard shoots instinctively but Jimenez tips the ball away.
Barcelona are dominating now! Messi, Tello and Alves are constant threats and it looks like a third goal will not be too far away.
Messi is rampant now!! He plays a superb 1-2 with Alves, finds space and fires in a shot which Jimenez saves. Pedrio Rios is replacing Xumetra for the hosts.
GOAL FOR BARCELONA!! TELLO STRIKES! Messi is the creative force again, he finds the winger on the left with a lovely through-ball and his shot beats Jimenez, who could have done better. 2-1!!
Chance for Levante! Barral has had a good game but he will be disappointed to have missed the target from 20 yards after a nice turn. End-to-end stuff as we reach the hour mark.
Good effort Alves! Barca take a different approach for their latest corner and work the ball out to the Brazilian full-back around 30 yards from goal. He has an ambitious attempt and isn't too far away.
Tello bursts free down the left and wins a corner for Barcelona. The substitution takes place with Mascerhano coming on for the injured Puyol.
Xumetra finds space to turn in the box but Song does well to close him down and deal with the danger. Puyol is down and receiving treatment after the block he had to make moments ago. Mascherano is getting ready.
Xumetra's cross is bravely dealt with by Puyol as the hosts look to respond to that bitter blow.
Own Goal Juan García García
GOAL FOR BARCELONA!! 1-1!! It is a comical own goal! Messi's pass finds Tello, who cuts in from the left shoots firmly, but straight at Jimenez. The ball spills out to Vyntra, who tries to hack the ball to safety but his clearance deflects straight off Juanfran and into the net! Bizarre, but we are level!
Levante are on the front foot for the first time since the break. Adriano does well to clear under pressure after two high crosses.
Messi sends Tello in beind the defence and he shoots straight at Jimenez. It would be a rare attempt on target but the assistant's flag is up - offside!
Puyol connects with Xavi's corner but his header cannot find the target. Barcelona have started the second half strongly.
Great ball in from Alves! His delivery barely leaves the ground but falls in the corridor of uncertainty between defence and goalkeeper. It just eludes Messi and Jimenez comes out to claim. Moments later, the Brazilian full-back wins another corner.
Barca are straight on the attack. It's Pedro who finds space on the right and whips in a dangerous ball, but Sergi Roberto cannot adjust his body quickly enough and his effort is off-target.
Messi and Sergi Roberto kick off the second half! A big 45 minutes coming up for Barcelona here.
That was an entertaining first-half in Valencia! The hosts, boosted by securing a draw against Barca at the weekend, are putting in a lively and deteremined performance. El Zhar's goal did come against the run of play but Barca, apart from an early shot from Pedro which struck the post, are yet to threaten Jimenez's goal. Is a major Copa del Rey upset on the cards?
45' + 1'
That's half-time! The referee adds on only a handful of seconds at the end of the half and blows his whistle. It's Levante 1-0 Barcelona!
A high boot from Barral brings down Bartra, but the lively striker avoids a yellow card.
Xavi's latest corner is floated into the box but the referee spots an infringement and blows for a free-kick. Breathing space for Levante.
A threatening cross from Pedro only just eludes Messi on the box, before an Alves delivery forces Nagore to concede a corner. Xavi takes it and Levante clear it for another Barca corner. The pressure is on ahead of half-time!
More intricate passing from Barcelona around the edge of the Levante box, with Messi increasingly involved.
Messi and Alves link up again down the right but Barral is back there to break up the play. Levante have plenty of bodies back behind the ball and Barca are finding it difficult to find a killer pass.
Messi shoots just wide! Alves finds the Argentine on the right and he attempts to curl an effort around a cluster of bodies and misses the far post by about a yard.
Barca are back in control of possession but not looking hugely threatening in the immediate aftermath of El Zhar's goal.
Good work by Barral. The striker, who was suspended for the weekend's game, is keeping Puyol occupied and Barca eventually need three defenders to crowd out his promising run. The hosts have something to hold on to now.
Question marks will be asked of Puyol and Pinto for Barcelona - the defender's header was diverted straight back into the danger area, while the goalkeeper failed to hold El Zhar's initial shot to present him with another opportunity. Game on now!
Goal Nabil El Zhar
GOAL FOR LEVANTE!! El Zhar has given the hosts a shock lead!! Sergio Pinto whips in a free-kick from virtually right on the touchline. Puyol can only head his clearance into the path of El Zhar, who strikes straight at Pinto before scoring with the rebound on his second attempt. 1-0!!!
Pedro crosses from the right and the experienced campaigner Juanfran clears for another Barca corner. Levante clear but Barca soon force yet another - their seventh - but again the hosts are organised and comfortably deal with Xavi's set-piece.
Sergio Pinto strikes the free-kick at pace but the wall stands firm, meaning he fails to trouble his namesake in the Barca goal.
Free-kick to Levante 25 yards out! The hosts break forward until a handball from Bartra causes the referee to blow his whistle. Bartra and Tata Martino are unhappy, claiming the ball hit the stopper's chest, but the decision stands and the defender is booked.
Yellow Card Bartra
CLOSE! Messi's incisive pass finds Adriano bombing down the left. The Brazilian tries to lift the ball over the onrushing Jimenez from a difficult angle but fails to find the target.
Xumetra and Sergio Pinto link up nicely before Puyol body-checks the Portgueuse. Amazingly, the referee does not blow his whistle for a free-kick and Barca are able to clear!
Arsene Wenger is in the crowd for the game this evening - who could the Arsenal manager be having a look at?
A better couple of minutes for Levante, who string a few passes together until Barral is caught offside. No goals after 20 minutes, with Pedro coming closest with his early effort against the post.
Barcelona win a fifth corner and Levante are able to clear. Xumetra takes the ball for a run down the right in a bid to relieve the pressure and succeeds in doing so.
Sergi Roberto finds himself in space just outside the box. He tries to thread a ball through to Messi but he cannot do so and the ball deflects out for a corner. Messi's delivery is cleared as past as far as Pedro, whose shot results in another corner. Good pressure from Barca here.
Alves breaks down the right but his cross comes to nothing. The visitors are beginning to monopolise possession now and Levante will be keen to re-establish a foothold in the game.
In case you hadn't seen, this is Lionel Messi's 400th Barcelona appearance tonight. No openings for the Argentine so far.
Yellow Card Nagore
Tello breezes past Nagore for a second time in these early stages. The defender drags him to the ground and is immediately booked - it's going to be a long 78 minutes for him now!
After a frantic start, the game finally settles down with Barca enjoying a decent spell of possession until Pedro is flagged for offside.
Pedro tumbles in the box in the aftermath of the corner but it is only a half-hearted claim for a penalty and the hosts clear well. It's been an end-to-end start!
A super burst of pace by Tello down the left gives the winger an opportunity to cross but Vyntra does well to swoop low and clear for a corner, which Levante deal with.
PEDRO HITS THE POST! That is how quickly Barcelona can make an impact! Pedro is fed by Alves and cuts inside from the right and strikes a vicious left-footed shot that strikes the far post before bouncing to safety. Great effort.
Sergio Pinto crosses into the box from the right but Bartra and Puyol are there to sweep up.
This has been a good start from Levante, who have made a couple of strong bursts forward and look keen to make an early impression.
Early chance for Levante! Barral sends Xumetra through on the right-hand side of the box, but he cuts inside and scuffs his shot straight into the arms of Pinto!
Levante kick-off and this quarter-final tie is up and running.
Kick-off is fast approaching now and we should be under way very soon!
In terms of the two sides' Copa del Rey track record, Levante have never progressed past the quarter-finals, giving them the opportunity to create club history in this tie. Barcelona, on the other hand, are 26-time winners - a competition record.
The weekend's 1-1 draw in La Liga was certainly a surprise result and Barcelona will be keen to avenge those dropped points this evening. They will be hoping to secure a strong first-leg lead which may allow them to rest players at Camp Nou, but the Les Granotes will have other ideas.
Lionel Messi starts in attack for Barcelona, flanked by Pero and Cristian Tello. Dani Alves and Adriano return in the full-back positions. Neymar and Andres Iniesta are ruled out through injury. Loukas Vyntra, who scored for the hosts in the weekend Liga fixture between these two sides, starts.
BARCELONA: Pinto, Alves, Puyol, Bartra, Adriano; Song, Xavi, Sergi Roberto, Pedro, Tello, Messi.
LEVANTE: Javi Jimenez, Vyntra, Barral, El Zhar, Juanfran, Nikos, El Adoua, Xumetra, Sergio, Nagore, Camarasa.
We will bring you the team news as soon as we have it from Valencia!
Let us know your views on the action throughout the evening and we will feature some of the best during the match. Get involved via Twitter @goal_intl or @thechrismyson!
Hello and welcome to Goal's LIVE! coverage of the first leg of this Copa del Rey quarter-final tie between Levante and Barcelona. My name is Chris Myson and I will be taking you through the action this evening.
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