Messi misses another penalty as Barcelona lose for the first time under Valverde

By Isoccer Staff

 

Oscar Melendo’s late goal saw Espanyol snatch a 1-0 win and inflict a first defeat on Barcelona since August, after Lionel Messi failed to score a penalty in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

A dominant Barca looked as though they would have to settle for a goalless draw after Messi saw his second-half spot kick saved by Diego Lopez on Wednesday, but worse was to come for the Liga frontrunners.

Espanyol caught them on the break late on and youngster Melendo provided a neat finish for his first senior goal, inflicting a first defeat on Barca since their Supercopa de Espana losses to Real Madrid.

Barca were on top from start to finish and created more than enough chances to take a victory back to Camp Nou.

But for all their control, the first half proved particularly frustrating, as clear-cut chances were hard to come by and, when the visitors did manage to craft an opening, the opportunity was wasted or saved.

They should have taken the lead just after the hour mark when Messi stepped up from 12 yards out, but Lopez rescued Espanyol with a brilliant save and Melendo – introduced from the bench – struck two minutes from time to secure an unlikely victory for the home side.

Espanyol had never beaten Barca in their new stadium before, the last team they won a home game against them was in 2007 when current Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was their manager.

They rode their luck at times, but with Diego Lopez saving a second half penalty from Lionel Messi – remarkably the 23rd he has failed to convert in his career – they grabbed a winner on the night through 20-year-old homegrown kid Oscar Melendo with two minutes left.

 

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