Jose Arnaiz scored on his senior debut as Barcelona secured a comfortable 3-0 win in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie against Real Murcia at Estadio Nueva Condomina.
Manager Ernesto Valverde had made the expected sweeping changes, but after some early pressure from the hosts, the LaLiga leaders broke the deadlock just before half-time through Paco Alcacer.
Gerard Deulofeu added a second in the 52nd minute before 22-year-old winger Arnaiz netted an angled drive after cutting in from the left.
Tweet of the match
Translated as: “Congratulations, comrades … on the road, the return at the Camp Nou!” Veteran Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta was impressed with the efforts of Ernesto Valverde’s youthful side.
Star man – Gerard Deulofeu
While Deulofeu may have found himself in the headlines after scoring a controversial opening goal against Malaga on Saturday after the ball had gone out of play in the build-up, the former Everton man produced the perfect answer in helping a much-changed Barcelona side avoid a potential banana skin. Deulofeu set up Alcacer to head the opener and then showed great strength to power into the right side of the penalty box and clip in a well-taken second goal to effectively settle the contest.
Moment of the match
Arnaiz may only be 22, but the Barcelona B player showed maturity beyond his years to cap an impressive debut with a brilliant goal on 55 minutes. The winger, signed from Valladolid in the summer, collected the ball on the left flank, powered forwards before cutting inside two defenders at the edge of the Murcia penalty area and flashing a right-foot angled drive across goal into the far corner.
The Barca kids are all right
As well as Arnaiz, Valverde also gave Carles Alena a start, while 19-year-old defender Marc Cucurella came on to make his debut during the closing stages. While tougher opponents and challenges lie ahead, Barca fans can rest assured the Nou Camp conveyor belt shows little signs of slowing up.
Arnaiz has played a part in a total of eight goals for Barcelona B and the first team – with three assists and now five strikes to his credit following his fine Copa del Rey debut effort.
Player RatingsReal Murcia: Alex Santome 6 (out of 10), Antonio Escribano 6, Juanra 6, Pedro Orfila 6, Alex Ortiz 6, David Mateos 6, Nadjib Montes 7, Dominguez Rajo Jordan 6, Elady 7, Fernando Llorente 6, Abel Molinero 6. Subs: David Sanchez (for Llorente, 61) 6, Salvador Perez (for Molinero, 61) 6, Armando Ortiz (for Mateos, 76) 6 Barcelona: Jasper Cillessen 6 (out of 10), Nelson Semedo 6, Javier Mascherano 7, Thomas Vermaelen 6, Lucas Digne 6, Andre Gomes 6, Denis Suarez 6, Carles Alena 6, Gerard Deulofeu 8, Paco Alcacer 7, Jose Arnaiz 7. Subs: Sergi Roberto (for Alena, 76) 6, Ivan Rakitic (for Deulofeu, 76) 6, Marc Cucurella (for Digne, 83) 6
Who’s up next?
Real Murcia v Granada B (Segunda Division B Group 4, October 29)
Athletico Bilbao v Barcelona (LaLiga, October 28)
Source: By PA Sport Staff