Barcelona 5-0 Leganes: Griezmann and Messi fire Barca into Copa del Rey quarter-finals with crushing victory to ease fans’ fears after losing La Liga lead to rivals Real Madrid
Pressure eased on Barcelona’s new coach Quique Setien as, with Lionel Messi scoring twice, his team beat Leganes 5-0 in the Spanish Cup.
Barça will join Real Madrid in Friday’s Copa del Rey quarter-finals draw and their place there never looked in doubt against the second from bottom visitors. They will need to repeat the performance against better sides before everyone is convinced but this was a huge improvement on Saturday’s capitulation against Valencia.
Messi made the difference in both halves and he had team-mates on his wavelength as Leganes chased shadows despite a spritely start.
Barcelona reached the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Thursday, beating Leganes 5-0
Antoine Griezmann fired the hosts into a lead after just four minutes at the Nou Camp
Leo Messi was also on the score-sheet, firing Barca to a comfortable victory at home
Martin Braithwaite’s shot on one minute for the visitors went just past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s far post and the ripple of concern around the Camp Nou was audible. But by the five minute mark Barcelona were 1-0 up.
Messi’s perfectly weighted pass sent Nelson Semedo down the right and his cross was turned in by Griezmann through the legs of Chidozie Awaziem.
It could have been two inside 10 minutes when Greizmann scored from close range but it was ruled out for offside. The delay while VAR studied the replays to see if the linesman call had been correct lasted long enough for the Camp Nou to whistle its disapproval.
Clement Lenglet netted the second with a glancing header after 27 minutes
The hosts were in need on a statement victory after an embarrassing 2-0 loss to Valencia
Griezmann then set up Arturo Vidal but he shot into the side netting. On 28 minutes Barcelona went 2-0 up with Messi floating a corner to the near post where Clement Lenglet headed in. It was vindication for the French centre-back who along with Nelson Semedo had been recalled to team.
Messi then popped up on minute 59 to score the third. Frenkie de Jong threaded the ball through to him and, drifting in from the right, he shot past Pichu Cuellar with some help from a deflection off of defender Rodri Tarin.
That lifted the crowd who raised the volume levels beyond what might be expected from a routine last-16 cup win. Griezmann was given a huge reception when he was taken off with 15 minutes left. If Barcelona don’t move in the transfer window on Friday then it will be down to the Frenchman to score the goals the club will miss because of Luis Suarez’s injury.
Lionel Messi was sharp as Leganes tried to smother the Ballon d’Or winner
Griezmann arrived wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey in honour of the icon who died this last week
There were chants for the Uruguayan after Barcelona scored the third and with 12 minutes left they got the fourth. Ansu Fati and Messi both had shots saved but Artur turned in the second rebound.
Coach Setien had struggled to explain’s Saturday’s defeat to Valencia but he can now go into Sunday’s league meeting with Levante buoyed. And just like the six coaches before him, he has Messi, who smashed in the fifth from substitute Ivan Rakitic’s pass.
The victory eased pressure on new Barca coach Quique Setien after a dip in form