Barcelona 5-0 Real Murcia: match report
Triple King's Cup holders Barcelona stormed into the last 16 by hammering Real Murcia 5-0 on Wednesday with a second-string team, completing an 8-0 aggregate victory over the third division side.
As in the 3-0 first-leg win, Spanish striker Paco Alcacer opened the scoring for Barca, heading home a pass that ricocheted off a Murcia defender in the 16th minute.
Murcia survived without conceding for the rest of the half but fell apart in the second. Gerard Pique started and completed a one-two with Aleix Vidal to score the second 11 minutes after the interval and right back Vidal netted with a header.
Denis Suarez added the fourth with a classy touch inside the area to bring a chipped pass under control which he followed with a deft finish into the far corner and reserve team player Jose Arnaiz completed the scoring.
Barca coach Ernesto Valverde made nine changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Valencia in Sunday's top-of-the-table La Liga clash
Barcelona vs Murcia live: as it happened
Barcelona vs Murcia live stream online: match preview
Barcelona will once again throw in a selection of the wider squad for a game against lower league competition despite Real Madrid's wobble at the Bernabéu last night.
After their 0-3 first leg away win Barça welcome Murcia with few expecting a surprise result on the night and bookmakers offering pretty much anything you want on a complete turnaround in the tie.
The Blaugranas will rest at least eight regulars (Messi, Luis Suárez, Busquets, Iniesta, Alba, Umtiti, Ter Stegen and Rakitic) who will then be fresh for the more challenging visit of Celta Vigo this weekend. Big Belgian, and ex-Arsenal defender, Thomas Vermaelen will form part of the side as he aims to add minutes and confidence to his role for the current LaLiga favourites. Manager Ernesto Valverde may need him fit and sharp for the season ahead where the side are fighting on various fronts.
Mascherano, André Gomes and Sergi Roberto remain sidelined as do the longer-term injured pair of Ousmane Dembéle and Rafinha.
The lesser-seen players from the fringes brought into training recently include Ortalá, Costas, Cuenca, Aleñá, Cardona, Vitinho and Oriol Busquets. Home fans will likely get a chance to check out their potential on a slightly bigger stage. Carles Aleñá could well start in midfield while David Costas could partner Vermaelen.
Murcia, are enjoying a positive streak of results and come into this no-lose game with "hope and desire to compete". Having won five of their last six games the Segunda B side sit in fifth place and are relishing the journey to the Catalan giants.
Manager José María Salmerón will mix things up from his line up in the last game and look to take advantage of a more inexperienced Barça XI, one that has not played together significantly.
Defender Juan Ramón Gómez-Pimpollo and strikers Xisco Martínez and Víctor Curto will miss out through injury, but midfielder Juan Manuel Bravo "Juanma" is expected to get a run out. Returning from knocks will be Abel Molinero, Nadjib Mengoud, Pedro Martín, and David Matetos.
In addition, Adrián Melgar and the Brazilian Renato da Silva have been named in the matchday squad.
Barcelona vs Murcia live online: betting odds
If you fancy a big upset in the Camp Nou you can smugly wander into the bookmakers after the game (or virtually via the website) to collect your winnings. A Murcia victory over their illustrious opponents will turn €10 into €350. If you lump your Pavarotti on a 0-1 result it would magically (almost unbelievably) transform into €1,250. Stay safe!