Thu | Jun 20, 2019

Copa disqualification looms for Barcelona

Published:Friday | January 18, 2019 | 12:00 AM

MADRID (AP):

Barcelona earned a spot in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey yesterday but their continued participation in the tournament remains under threat.

Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele led Barcelona to a comfortable 3-0 win over Levante at Camp Nou Stadium, helping it advance 4-2 on aggregate. However, the Catalan club could be disqualified for allegedly using a suspended player in the first leg.

Levante said they will make a formal complaint to the Spanish football federation today, ahead of the draw for the quarter-finals.

The four-time defending Copa champions have denied any wrongdoing for using youth player Juan 'Chumi' Brandariz in last week's match in Valencia.

"We don't have any doubts," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "We believe we will be in the draw tomorrow. We did everything right and we won on the field, which is where we had to win."

Levante said Chumi should not have played because of an accumulation of yellow cards with Barcelona's 'B' team, arguing that his suspension applied to the senior team as well, including in Copa matches.

"We prefer to win on the field, but the regulations exist and everyone needs to follow them," Levante coach Paco Lopez said. "Let's see what happens."

The Spanish federation is expected to rule on Levante's complaint before today's draw.

Real Madrid were eliminated in the tournament's round of 16 in 2015 for using striker Denis Cheryshev while he was suspended.