MADRID (AFP) - Philippe Coutinho scored a crucial away goal however Barcelona have work to do to avoid a surprise go out from the Copa del Rey after dropping 2-1 to Levante on Thursday within the first leg of the last sixteen.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Marc Andre ter Stegen had been among numerous key players rested at the city of Valencia Stadium, where Levante took benefit as Erick Cabaco and Borja Mayoral gave them a two-aim cushion.

Coutinho, however, making his first start in nearly a month, converted an eighty fifth-minute penalty to depart Barca in contact heading into subsequent week s second leg at the Camp Nou.


After lacking plenty of November via damage, Coutinho has struggled to regain his region in Ernesto Valverde s favored starting line-up but 90 minutes, and a intention, can have performed his confidence no harm.

"while (Ousmane) Dembele didn t play, absolutely everyone asked approximately him, now Coutinho doesn t play, it s the reverse," Valverde stated afterwards. "whilst you don t play and also you aren t glad, you have to combat to exchange things."

Valverde turned into blamed closing season for Barca s shock Champions Leaue go out, the concept being that he did not relaxation key players in the Copa del Rey and la Liga, both of which they gained.

He seems keener to adjust this term as a much-changed line-up blanketed a debut for primary defender Jeison Murillo, a January mortgage signing from Valencia, as well as youngsters like Chumi Brandariz, Juan Miranda and Carles Alena.

This become a tough advent, but, with Murillo overwhelmed for Levante s 2nd goal at the same time as Miranda become changed at 1/2-time and Chumi accompanied thirteen minutes later.

The front three have been more set up, as Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Coutinho aimed to make up for the absence of a acknowledged striker.

rather, Levante took the lead after just 185 seconds as Ruben Rochina s in-swinging pass from the left met the top of Cabaco, who climbed above Sergio Busquets and headed in.

Barca were suffering to cope with the aggression of their warring parties and inside the 18th minute they have been two down. Emmanuel Boateng s reverse bypass set Borja unfastened, who nipped between Murillo and Chumi.

Murillo tried to make the block but Borja s shot beat each him and Jasper Cillessen, earlier than nestling in the some distance corner.

Levante could have made it 3 but Borja fired wide and Jose Luis Morales, who best had Cillessen to overcome, scooped his finish over the bar.

Valverde had grew to become to his bench as Sergi Roberto and Clement Lenglet got here on for Miranda and Chumi while Denis Suarez, linked with a circulate away from the club this month, was given 23 mins to instigate a comeback.

He did the activity, a weaving run interior from the right drawing a clumsy assignment from Coke. Coutinho made no mistake.

earlier, Sevilla put one foot within the region-finals after winning 3-1 away to Athletic Bilbao.

Mikel San Jose pulled Bilbao level at San Mames after Nolito s opener but 2d-1/2 goals from Andre Silva and Wissam Ben Yedder mean Sevilla can be strong favourites to undergo.