April 22, 2024


General Evolution

Copa del Rey: Barcelona fight back to avoid Rayo Vallecano upset

Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi tries to take on the Rayo Vallecano defence in the Copa del Rey tie on Wednesday
Messi, who made a Barca club record 76th appearance in the Copa del Rey, scored one and helped set up the winner

Lionel Messi inspired a Barcelona fightback on his return from suspension as they beat Rayo Vallecano to reach the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

Rayo, who are fourth in the Spanish second tier, took a shock lead when Fran Garcia tapped in a loose ball.

Barca hit back six minutes later when Messi, back from a two-game ban after his first red card for the club, slotted in Antoine Griezmann’s pass.

Frenkie de Jong’s composed close-range finish ensured Barca avoided a shock.

Barca captain Messi was also the architect for the winner, releasing substitute Jordi Alba down the left to provide a low cross that was met by De Jong’s perfectly timed run.

The Catalan club have won the Copa del Rey on a record 30 occasions and the competition looks to be their best chance to claim a trophy in Ronald Koeman’s first season as manager.

The Dutchman admitted as much going to the tie, with his side 10 points adrift of La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid and not considered among the favourites for the Champions League – especially as they face French champions Paris St-Germain in the last 16.

Both Atletico and Real Madrid suffered embarrassing exits to lower league opposition in the Copa del Rey, leaving Koeman’s men as the favourites to lift the trophy.

Sevilla may have something to say about that, having reached the last eight earlier on Wednesday with a comfortable 3-0 home win against La Liga rivals Valencia.

Segunda Division side Almeria progressed after beating top-flight Osasuna on penalties, while Real Betis, Villarreal and Levante won their last-16 ties on Tuesday.


Rayo Vallecano

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 13Dimitrievski
  • 28HernándezSubstituted forAdvínculaat 83′minutes
  • 24Saveljich
  • 5Catena
  • 3MartosSubstituted forPalazónat 83′minutes
  • 6ComesañaBooked at 10mins
  • 11MartínSubstituted forSuárezat 71′minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 8TrejoBooked at 54mins
  • 20MontielSubstituted forGarcíaat 56′minutes
  • 33García Torres
  • 14QasmiSubstituted forCortés Herediaat 71′minutes


  • 4Suárez
  • 7Palazón
  • 9Ulloa
  • 10Dias Correia
  • 15Cortés Heredia
  • 17Advíncula
  • < li class="gs-o-list-ui__item" data-reactid=".1prrtk4anik.$include-$panel-0.$$6PO165682">18García

  • 38Recio
  • 40González


Formation 4-3-3

  • 13Murara Neto
  • 28Mingueza
  • 4Araujo
  • 15Lenglet
  • 24FirpoSubstituted forGonzálezat 68′minutes
  • 21de Jong
  • 5Busquets
  • 12PuigSubstituted forAlbaat 68′minutes
  • 17Machado TrincãoSubstituted forDembéléat 68′minutesBooked at 73mins
  • 10Messi
  • 7GriezmannSubstituted forBraithwaiteat 85′minutesBooked at 90mins


  • 1ter Stegen
  • 8Pjanic
  • 9Braithwaite
  • 11Dembélé
  • 16González
  • 18Alba
  • 23Umtiti
  • 27Kourouma Kourouma
  • 36Tenas

Guillermo Cuadra Fernández