Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Deulofeu on fire as Barcelona win 3-0

Published:Wednesday | October 25, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Barcelona's Lucas Digne (left) vies for the ball with Murcia's Nadjib Montes during the Copa del Rey round of 16 first leg match at the Nueva Condomina stadium in Murcia yesterday.

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 yesterday.

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 half time 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 their defence 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."