Deulofeu leads Barcelona to 3-0 win at Murcia in Copa
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Gerard Deulofeu created the opening goal and then scored with a superb solo effort as Barcelona beat third-division Murcia 3-0 in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday.
Jose Arnaiz, a 22-year-old reserve team player, marked his Barcelona debut by scoring the third goal for the cup holders in the first leg match of the round-of-32.
Deulofeu got Barcelona going two minutes before halftime when he cut back from the right flank and placed a perfect cross over a defender for striker Paco Alcacer to head home.
The goal was Alcacer’s first of the season as he has struggled to find minutes under coach Ernesto Valverde.
Deulofeu, who returned to Barcelona this summer after four seasons away, made it 2-0 in the 52nd when he slalomed past three defenders in the area before poking the ball under the goalkeeper.
Arnaiz added the third goal with a powerful shot in the 57th minute.
“He is a player who is daring, very good one-on-one, and it’s good for him to score on his debut and to help the team,” Valverde said of Arnaiz.
Barcelona opened its defense of the cup title without stars Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez, while defender Thomas Vermaelen and goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen played their first minutes of the season for the Catalan club.
“We are happy because we were playing with players from the reserve team and with some who don’t play very much,” Valverde said. “Once we scored, we were able to wear them down and get two more goals and several more chances.”
SEVILLA ENDS SLUMP
Sevilla ended a three-game losing streak by beating third-division Cartagena 3-0.
Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo, who is in his first season with the club, was in need of a turnaround after his team lost 4-0 to Valencia, 5-1 to Spartak Moscow in the Champions League and 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao.
But Sevilla had little trouble making a positive start to Spain’s cup competition thanks to goals by Pablo Sarabia, Joaquin Correa and substitute Luis Muriel.
After Sarabia chipped in the 25th-minute opener, midfielder Ganso set up Correa with a back-heel pass 10 minutes later. Ganso then set up Muriel in the 51st.
“We needed to change the dynamic, and that’s what we did,” Berizzo said. “This gives us a big boost of confidence. Everyone took a step forward today.”
MICHEL IN DANGER
Malaga coach Michel Gonzalez will face more pressure after his side conceded two goals in stoppage time to lose 2-1 at second-tier Numancia.
The loss kept Malaga without a win this season. It is in last place in the Spanish league with just one draw and eight losses.
Jose “Recio” Garcia put Malaga ahead from a free kick in the 20th, but Numancia’s Ignacio Sanchez equalized after 90 minutes were up.
The hosts then snatched a stunning victory through Alberto Escassi, who scored from the rebound after his initial shot hit the woodwork.
Michel was scathing in his criticism of his team after the defeat.
“I am angry. My future has no importance,” Michel said. “We must demand more from our players. I don’t know if it is a question of attitude, or if maybe some are feeling the pressure, or if they just aren’t talented enough.”
Valencia carried over its strong performances in the league, where it is second behind leader Barcelona, with a 2-0 victory at second-division Zaragoza.
Rodrigo Moreno broke the deadlock in the 80th minute when he headed in a cross from Dani Parejo for his sixth goal this season. Parejo added a penalty in stoppage time.
Alaves substitute Christian Santos headed home from a cross by Alvaro Medran with three minutes left to grab a 1-0 win at Getafe in the night’s only clash between top-flight rivals.
Real Betis forward Sergio Leon scored twice to give it a 2-1 victory at second-division Cadiz.