Match Reviews

Barcelona player ratings vs Unionistas: Jules Kounde, take a bow! Defender’s wonderstrike sends Blaugrana to Copa del Rey quarter-finals in comeback win

The French centre-back’s emphatic goal kept the Catalan club alive in the Spanish cup after a shaky start in Salamanca

Unionistas probably offered Jules Kounde a bit too much space when he strolled into the final third, with 20 minutes remaining in their Copa del Rey tie with Barcelona. But they couldn’t have expected what happened next.

The French defender, with just two Barcelona goals to his name heading into the contest, struck the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards out, completing a comeback and hiding what was yet another disappointing performance from Xavi’s side. In the end, the scoreline, 3-1, looked comfortable enough. But the reality was far more difficult.

Unionistas scored the opening goal, and took it wonderfully, a sweeping move down the left complemented by an emphatic volley from Alvaro Gomez on the right.

Barca equalised on the stroke of half time, Ferran Torres capitalising on a defensive breakdown with a calm finish after running through on goal. The crucial goal was of little surprise – although the manner in which it arrived certainly wasn’t in the script.

Kounde grabbed it, whacking the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards out after being allowed to saunter into the Unionistas half. Another defender bagged the third, Alejandro Balde scampering down the left wing before pinging his shot in off the woodwork from an acute angle.

Once again, Xavi has reason for complaint about the calibre of performance. But in these midweek games, results matter. And Barca are alive in a competition they will feel they can win.

GOAL rates Barcelona’s players from Campo de Futbol Reina Sofia…

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