Football

Watch: Barcelona Fall To Shock Copa Del Rey Defeat Against Levante

Watch: Barcelona Fall To Shock Copa Del Rey Defeat Against Levante

Not many people saw this one coming. Barcelona have fallen to a shock 2-1 defeat to Levante in the first leg of their Copa Del Rey tie, with a late Phillipe Coutinho penalty giving their chances in the second leg an unlikely boost.

Barcelona played a largely second choice team for the game, with the likes of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic not even making the relatively short trip to Valencia.

They would suffer a disastrous start to the game, when some suspect defending from a set piece allowed Erick Cabaco to head home the opener after only four minutes.

The visitors looked completely out of sorts during the opening periods of the match, and Levante would soon double their lead. A sloppy pass from 18-year old Juan Miranda González handed possession to the home side, who broke quickly before the move was finished neatly by Borja Mayoral.

While Barca would have the lion's share of possession throughout the contest, they were matched by their opponents in terms of attacking threat. Sergio Busquets, playing out of position in the middle of a back three, looked suspect throughout, and the away side were lucky to not fall further behind on a couple of occasions.

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With the defending champions almost playing themselves into a dangerous deficit ahead of the second leg at the Camp Nou, Ernesto Valverde sprung some more experienced players form the bench. Denis Suarez, Sergi Roberto and Clement Lenglet were all introduced, and they would grab what could prove to be a vital goal in the 85th minute.

Denis Suarez was taken down inside the penalty area after a jinking run, and Coutinho coolly slotted home the resulting spot kick.

Having been out of sorts for much of the game, Barcelona will be delighted to enter next week's second leg trailing by a solitary goal. It will be interesting to see how strong of a team Valverde fields for that game.

La Liga and the Champions League will obviously be his priority for the remainder of the season, but with a reasonably favourable run of fixtures coming up, he may choose to play some of the bog guns in order to secure passage into the next round.

SEE ALSO: Barcelona Offer Chelsea intriguing Willian Swap Deal

Gary Connaughton

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