October 27, 2016

Sandro Powers Barca Past Villanovense

Barcelona will head to the Copa del Rey’s final 16 after defeating Villanovense. LLUIS GENE


Barcelona breezed into the Copa del Rey last 16 as a Sandro Ramirez hat trick helped it to a 6-1 second-leg win over Villanovense.

The holders were held to a shock goalless draw in October’s first leg and Luis Enrique named Luis Suarez, Neymar and Andres Iniesta on the bench in case of another dogged display from the visitors.

A thunderbolt from Dani Alves with just four minutes played allayed concerns over an upset, however, before Sandro capitalized on a dreadful Villanovense error to make it 2-0.

Juanfran scored a fine strike on a rare Villanovense break to halve the deficit after 29 minutes, but Sandro’s second two minutes later killed any hopes of a comeback before halftime, before Munir El Haddadi’s header early in the second half made it 4-1.

Sandro clinched his hat trick in emphatic style midway through the second half and set up Munir for the sixth with a brilliant backheel away from goalkeeper Jose Fuentes, leaving Camp Nou delighted with the efforts of Barca’s younger stars.

Barca wasted little time in taking control of the game, with Alves striding forward before blasting a shot from 30 yards out that swerved in the air before rippling the back of the net, despite Fuentes getting a hand to the ball.

Sandro was then gifted his first of the evening after 21 minutes when Fuentes passed the ball straight to the feet of the 20-year-old inside the box, and he took a touch before curling a fine finish into the far top corner.

Barca was given a shock on the half hour mark when Juanfran collected a loose ball 25 yards out before rasping a shot into the far corner of Jordi Masip’s goal, but hopes of a comeback were promptly extinguished.

Aitor Cantalapiedra, who made his debut in the first leg, slid a fine through-ball to Sandro, who drilled low beneath Fuentes from 12 yards after bursting into the box.

Barca grabbed its fourth just six minutes after the break, Jeremy Mathieu planting a cross from the left onto the head of the onrushing Munir, who nodded in low at the near post.

Juanfran headed over the bar following a looping Pablo Moraga cross as the visitors tried to breathe life into the contest, but Sandro promptly secured his hat trick with 21 minutes to play after another fine Barca attack.

Adriano and Sergi Samper combined down the right and the latter’s drilled cross was cleared only as far as Sandro, who took a touch before drilling high into the net past Fuentes from close range.

Sandro turned provider on 76 minutes as he raced in behind a static back four before backheeling the ball superbly away from Fuentes, allowed Munir to slot confidently into the far corner from the right of the box, and the home side cruised through the closing stages to seal a place in the next round.

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