Copa del Rey: Barca into quarters with derby win

Barcelona ended a three-game series of bad tempered derbies against Espanyol on top by sealing their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals 6-1 on aggregate courtesy of a 2-0 win at Cornella-El Prat.

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi duels for the ball against Espanyol's Joan Jordan during a Copa del Rey match.   -  AP

Barcelona ended a three-game series of bad tempered derbies against Espanyol on top by sealing their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals 6-1 on aggregate courtesy of a 2-0 win at Cornella-El Prat.

Fresh from picking up his record fifth Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi was once again Barca’s inspiration yesterday as he brilliantly picked out Munir El Haddadi to open the scoring before the youngster tapped home his second of the night later on.

There was less aggression on the field than in the previous two meetings between the sides in the past 10 days, however Espanyol could be punished for offensive banners towards Colombian popstar Shakira - the partner of Barca defender Gerard Pique - and Luis Suarez.

Athletic Bilbao, Celta Vigo and Las Palmas also booked their place in the last eight to join Sevilla and Mirandes, who qualified on Tuesday, for Friday’s quarter-final draw.

La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid host Rayo Vallecano today tied at 1-1, whilst Gary Neville’s Valencia have one foot in the quarters as they lead Granada 4-0.

“Today everything was a lot calmer, partly because of the result,” said Barca boss Luis Enrique. “The only game that got out of hand was the first, but I am not the one to analyse it. The second had what a derby should have and in the third it was harder for them to press us. When one side plays to an elevated level it eventually wears them down.”

Suarez was banned for confronting Espanyol players in the tunnel after last week’s first-leg in which the visitors had two men sent-off.

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