Barcelona produced a storming fightback to reach the Copa del Rey final thanks to a dramatic 3-0 victory over Sevilla after extra time at Camp Nou. 

The Catalan giants hit the headlines at the start of the week when president Josep Maria Bartomeu was among those arrested on Monday - he was then provisionally released under charges of unfair administration and corruption of business - as part of a police investigation into last year's 'Barcagate' scandal. 

Barca's players looked anything but affected by off-field events, however, as they dominated the majority of the second leg, Ousmane Dembele giving them a richly deserved first-half lead. 

Lucas Ocampos had a penalty saved by Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen with 17 minutes to go and Gerard Pique made him pay by making it 2-2 on aggregate right at the end of stoppage time, moments after Sevilla had seen Fernando sent off. 

Martin Braithwaite put Barca in front early in extra time and Luuk de Jong - who had been substituted - was shown a red card for dissent after Sevilla were not awarded a penalty, with the hosts going through to face Athletic Bilbao or Levante in the final. 

Dembele opened the scoring in the 12th minute in a scintillating Barca start, showing excellent close control in the penalty area before drifting outside the box to find the top-right corner with a sublime right-footed finish from 20 yards out. 

The Blaugrana were causing Sevilla all sorts of problems with their slick passing and movement in a relentless first-half display, Marcos Acuna clearing a deflected shot from the brilliant Lionel Messi off the line. 

Barca were almost level when Jordi Alba's acrobatic volley rattled the crossbar and there was more drama when Ocampos' tame penalty was saved by Ter Stegen after the Sevilla player had been upended by Oscar Mingueza. 

Substitute Antoine Griezmann then produced the impact hoped for with time almost up, delivering an inviting cross for Pique to head home, this after Fernando was shown a second yellow card for upending Messi. 

Barca were in front for the first time in the tie four minutes into extra time, Braithwaite coming off the bench to nod in Alba's superb cross. 

Sevilla thought they had a second penalty for handball against Clement Lenglet but the VAR verdict ruled there was no intent, resulting in De Jong seeing red on a miserable night for the visitors.

Barcelona claimed a deserved 2-0 LaLiga win at Sevilla on Saturday in the first of the sides' two crunch clashes.

The Blaugrana will host Sevilla in their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg in midweek but first took care of business in the league thanks to strikes from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi.

A display of similar dominance will now be required at Camp Nou, as Barca trail 2-0 from the first leg of their Copa tie.

Ronald Koeman's men will certainly not be short of confidence, though, after climbing to second, only two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid having played two games more.

[17:09] bensprattjourn (Guest)

Barca had initially lacked a focal point, playing a 3-5-2 formation without a natural striker, yet their unorthodox front two combined to great effect for the opener after 29 minutes.

As Messi dropped deep to collect the ball, Dembele tore away on the shoulder of the last defender and met a pinpoint pass to fire under Yassine Bounou.

That was the only moment of real quality in a low-key first half, but Barca twice in quick succession should have added to their advantage after the break.

Sergino Dest blasted against the post when the ball broke his way following a patent move, before Dembele raced away again and teed up Messi, who blazed over.

Clement Lenglet then had a header ruled out for offside, yet Messi settled any nerves as he played a smart one-two with Ilaix Moriba and prodded in the rebound when Bounou blocked his dinked attempt five minutes from the end.

Only an apparent injury to Ronald Araujo, 15 minutes after his return to action, put a dampener on Barca's day.

Kylian Mbappe's future continues to dominate headlines.

For so long, Real Madrid have been favourites to prise Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu.

But Premier League champions Liverpool are believed to be stepping up their pursuit.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL FRONTRUNNERS FOR MBAPPE

Liverpool are ahead of Real Madrid in the race to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe , according to Canal+ show Late Football Club.

Mbappe has been tipped to leave Ligue 1 champions PSG for LaLiga holders Madrid at the end of the season.

But Liverpool are reportedly the frontrunners to prise the France World Cup winner to Anfield amid doubts over Mohamed Salah 's future.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Madrid are preparing for the departure of Sergio Ramos as their star captain nears an exit. The soon-to-be free agent has been linked with the likes of PSG , Juventus , Manchester United and Manchester City .

- Will Roma striker Edin Dzeko and Inter's Alexis Sanchez swap clubs? Sky Sport Italia reports an exchange deal could be set to collapse. City reportedly turned down a chance to re-sign Dzeko, who has a fractured relationship with Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca.

Milan are continuing to target Palmeiras and Uruguayan defender Matias Vina , says Calciomercato.

- Cadena Cope reports PSG want to sign Barcelona defender Emerson , who is on loan at Real Betis.

- Sport Bild journalist Christian Falk says United are interested in RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano , but Bayern Munich lead the race to secure his services at season's end. Upamecano has also been linked to the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool .

- Falk also confirmed that Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate has a release clause in excess of €40million (£35m) amid interest from United , Liverpool and Tottenham .

United are eyeing Barca's Ousmane Dembele if Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho does not arrive ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, according to Falk.

Liverpool are reportedly prioritising a new deal for Virgil van Dijk over Mohamed Salah, while they could be beaten to Dayot Upamecano by Manchester United.

Salah's future has been a talking point in recent weeks, although the forward is contracted until 2023.

Van Dijk also has an agreement at Anfield until 2023, but the injured defender is apparently Liverpool's focus.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL PRIORITISE VAN DIJK DEAL OVER SALAH

Liverpool are prioritising a new contract for Van Dijk over Salah, according to Eurosport.

Van Dijk, 29, is recovering from a serious knee injury and his absence has been felt by the Premier League champions.

Salah, meanwhile, has scored 13 goals in 18 league games this season, but in an interview with AS last month the 28-year-old refused to rule out a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona.

The report also says Liverpool may look at West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, with Georginio Wijnaldum set to leave as a free agent at the end of the campaign.

ROUND-UP

- With Van Dijk and Joe Gomez injured, Liverpool have been linked with a move for RB Leipzig defender Upamecano. But The Sun reports Manchester United are poised to sign the centre-back for £38million (€42.7m).

- Amid uncertainty over his future at Barcelona, Ousmane Dembele is being looked at by numerous European giants. Sport reports Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus and Bayern Munich are monitoring the forward's situation. Dembele is out of contract in 2022 and the Catalan giants could sell him if he does not extend his deal.

- Frank Lampard is under enormous pressure at Chelsea as the Premier League side struggle for form. The Mirror reports Chelsea could turn to Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers if they move on from Lampard.

- Yet to re-sign with Southampton with his contract expiring next year, Danny Ings is linked with a move. 90min reports Leicester City and Everton have joined the race for the forward, who has also been linked to Tottenham.

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman was furious that his side missed two penalties in their Copa del Rey victory over Cornella.

The Catalans required extra time to overcome the Segunda B side, with Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite eventually securing a 2-0 win.

Cornella goalkeeper Ramon Juan had otherwise kept Barca at bay, making seven saves including two from the spot to deny Miralem Pjanic in the first half and Dembele in the second.

Those missed opportunities forced Barca to go to extra time for the third game in a row - after two Supercopa de Espana draws - for the first time in their history.

Barca have now missed five of their past eight penalties in all competitions, including their most recent four in a row, and Koeman slammed their success rate as ill-fitting of a club of their stature.

"The most important thing is always to go through, but we can't be happy because we scored goals," he said.

"We missed two penalties and you have to have more responsibility in these types of games.

"Again, 120 minutes, it's an important topic because we've had three games [like that] and that's on us. We created chances and two penalties... that cannot be.

"I can't complain about the effort but it's not only running, but also creating and being effective. It was really tough today. It cannot be and it can't be accepted.

"You have to win matches earlier. We missed two penalties, we had chances. It cannot be that a team like Barca misses so much.

"I don't understand it, either, because we usually have enough players who can score a penalty. It can be scary. I truly don't know why we've missed so many penalties. You can't miss two penalties as Barcelona players. This isn't serious."

Barca are next in action away to Elche in LaLiga on Sunday.

Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite scored in extra time to see Barcelona past a resilient Cornella 2-0 in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

Ronald Koeman's men had two penalties saved in normal time as they failed to break down the Segunda B side who famously knocked out Atletico Madrid in the previous round.

Miralem Pjanic and Dembele each missed from the spot but the latter eventually made the breakthrough with a powerful strike.

The visitors made sure of the win in the very last moment through Braithwaite to ensure there would be no repeat of Wednesday's action, when Real Madrid suffered one of the biggest shocks in the competition's history by losing to Alcoyano.

Barca struggled to turn possession into chances, their first real effort of note coming via a Francisco Trincao volley from Pjanic's corner that was parried by Ramon Juan.

Pjanic had the chance to break the deadlock from the spot after Ronald Araujo took a high foot to the head, but his penalty was expertly saved.

They started the second half with more purpose and should have scored when Martin Braithwaite shot straight at Ramon after Antoine Griezmann diverted the ball into his path.

Griezmann then blasted over the bar with the goal at his mercy after a clever quick free-kick from Pjanic, and Neto had to make a flying save to parry an Agus Medina strike barely a minute later.

Substitute Dembele was given the chance to get the breakthrough 11 minutes from time after another high boot in the box, this time from Pol Moreno on Clement Lenglet, but Ramon held his nerve and blocked the penalty from the middle of his goal.

Braithwaite sliced another clear chance wide of the right-hand post and Ramon came to the rescue again to tip a Pjanic half-volley onto the crossbar and away.

Yet within two minutes of the beginning of extra time, Ramon's resistance was broken, the keeper getting two hands to Dembele's strike from 20 yards out but unable to keep the ball out of the net.

Konrad de la Fuente almost made it 2-0 immediately after coming off the bench, but Ramon threw himself to his left to make another fine stop, before Albert Estelles earned a second booking in the closing moments for a poor challenge on the excellent Araujo.

With the final move of the game, Dembele combined expertly with Pedri, who unselfishly teed up Braithwaite to drill into the unguarded net.

What does it mean? Barca avoid more disappointment – just

This was the first time in their history that Barca had three consecutive games go to extra time, having twice gone the distance in the Supercopa de Espana.

After losing the final to Athletic Bilbao, it was important for Koeman's changed side to respond here and he will be relieved that they eventually found a way through.

With the two Madrid giants already out, the Copa del Rey looks like Barca's safest bet for silverware this season.

Ramon-believable

Ramon made seven excellent saves, including the two penalties, and he will be furious he could only parry Dembele's shot into the top-left corner.

Still, were it not for their keeper, Cornella could well have suffered a straightforward defeat in normal time. 

Puig poor

Riqui Puig has found it difficult to convince Koeman at times and this was not a performance to earn the trust of his coach.

The midfielder, booked for dissent seven minutes in, managed no shots, crosses or key passes and was taken off at half-time.

What's next?

Barca are back in LaLiga action away to Elche on Sunday.

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman believes Lionel Messi is slowly getting back to his best after a brace against Athletic Bilbao.

Messi scored twice, to go with Pedri's goal, at San Mames on Wednesday as Barca recorded a 3-2 victory.

The star has been involved in 10 goals in his past 10 games in all competitions, netting eight and assisting two.

And Koeman feels Messi, who has netted 12 times in 20 appearances this season, is improving.

"Since the first day that I arrived at the club I think Lionel Messi has given everything," he told a news conference.

"I haven’t been surprised by his quality because he's obviously been showing how good he is for years. It's possibly true that he's been less effective than normal which is why there could have been doubts but he's doing a lot better now, he feels comfortable at the moment and he feels up for the challenge.

"That's how I feel. But I think Messi is the one who can answer that best."

Pedri cancelled out Inaki Williams' opener before Messi's double, and Barca moved into third in LaLiga despite Iker Muniain's late goal.

Koeman also praised Ousmane Dembele, who along with Pedri and Antoine Griezmann had a game-high three key passes.

"I think everything starts with the player himself. If the player feels comfortable and feels physically fit he can play well," he said.

"I don't think there's ever been any question about his quality, at least in my opinion, but there have been doubts about his ability to stay fit. At the moment he seems fully fit and I have to think about the programme of games ahead and when we can give him a rest because he hasn't played regularly for quite some time.

"He has to learn how to manage his game time as well. But in terms of the football he can play we know what he can give to the team. He's very good going forward, he attacks with the ball and those are good qualities for us."

Barca, who are seven points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid and have played two more games, visit Granada on Saturday.

Barcelona moved into LaLiga's top five after Frenkie de Jong's goal clinched a 1-0 victory over bottom club Huesca in Lionel Messi's 500th league appearance for the club.

Blaugrana boss Ronald Koeman, who warned before the game that defeat would all but end his side's title challenge, saw a much-improved Barcelona performance as he earned back-to-back LaLiga away wins for the first time in his tenure.

Messi came back into the side after missing Barca's disappointing 1-1 draw with Eibar due to an ankle injury and was at his talismanic best, deftly assisting De Jong's volleyed goal after just before the half-hour mark.

Huesca did open the visitors up on occasion and it remains to be seen whether Koeman can restore some consistency and style to this team, but they did enough here to climb above Sevilla in the table.

Barcelona's early pressure paid off after 27 minutes when Messi played an exquisite chipped pass into the box, where De Jong evaded two defenders and guided the ball into the corner of the net from six yards on the volley.

Messi would have capped a fine first-half performance with a superb goal five minutes from the interval had Alvaro Fernandez not pulled off a spectacular save, palming his dipping 20-yard free-kick over the crossbar.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner flashed a fierce effort narrowly wide from the edge of the box early in the second period, before Marc-Andre ter Stegen got down well to prevent Rafa Mir's close-range shot from becoming the equaliser.

Ousmane Dembele should have put the game beyond doubt when he went one-on-one with Fernandez 13 minutes from time, but the Huesca goalkeeper saved at his feet and then denied Messi again before full-time.

Lionel Messi's absence was sorely felt by Barcelona on Tuesday as Ronald Koeman's side were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Eibar at Camp Nou.

Barca had given Messi – who was watching from the stands – a break to nurse an ankle injury, but the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's creativity and goal threat was badly missed as the hosts dropped points for the eighth time in 15 LaLiga games this season.

Martin Braithwaite was duly punished for an early penalty miss – a LaLiga-high third of the campaign for the Catalan giants – when Kike Garcia took full advantage of a Ronald Araujo error in the 57th minute.

Substitute Ousmane Dembele salvaged a draw for Barca 10 minutes later, although they are seven points behind leaders Atletico Madrid despite having played two games more.

Barca squandered a golden opportunity to take an eighth-minute lead, Braithwaite dragging his spot-kick wide after referee Javier Alberola Rojas had used the pitchside monitor to penalise Pedro Bigas for a foul on Araujo.

The Denmark international thought he had made amends shortly after the midway point of the first half, but his cool strike from Junior Firpo's cross was ruled out by VAR for offside.

Antoine Griezmann then pulled an effort wide from outside the penalty area as Barca went in at the interval having had just a solitary shot on target.

Dembele and Miralem Pjanic flashed strikes wide in the early stages of the second half before the former was denied by Marko Dmitrovic after being played clean through.

The Frenchman was made to pay for that miss when Kike picked Araujo's pocket inside the Barca half and coolly slotted past Marc Ande ter Stegen for his fifth goal of the campaign.

Dembele belatedly got the better of Dmitrovic in the 67th minute, firing home at the back post after Junior's cross flashed across the face of goal.

Francisco Trincao clipped narrowly wide of Dmitrovic's right-hand post in stoppage time as Barca missed the opportunity to make up ground on Atleti ahead of the leaders' clash with Getafe on Wednesday.

Ronald Koeman has once again criticised the scheduling of Barcelona's LaLiga fixtures after losing Ousmane Dembele to injury.

Dembele suffered an "elongation" in the hamstring of his right leg in Saturday's 2-1 loss to Cadiz and is facing another spell on the sidelines.

The France international joins a growing list of injured players at Barca, with Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti also ruled out.

Koeman is unsure how long the injury-plagued Dembele will be out but suggested this latest setback would have been avoided if his side were given a different kick-off slot.

"It's a shame to lose another player to injury," he said at a news conference ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Juventus.

"He noticed something in the second half when he came on. He thought it was nothing but it's a step back considering his history. It's one more reason why I complain about the match schedules.

"I don't know who sets the match schedules, but if you play in Europe on Tuesday, thinking about the Spanish teams, you don't get back from the prior until four in the morning.

"We have played five matches away from home at nine in the night. If you play Wednesday that gives you a day extra to recover, but not when you play on Tuesday."

Barca are through to the last 16 of the Champions League and will seal top spot in Group G if they avoid a three-goal loss, or any two-goal margin of defeat other than 2-0, against Juve.

A victory for the Catalan giants would make it just the eighth instance of a side winning all six group matches, Barca having previously achieved the feat once before in 2002-03.

But they have struggled domestically, a return of 14 points from 10 LaLiga games their lowest tally since 1987-88, and Koeman takes full responsibility for the poor return.

"It is always down to the coach," he said. "He makes the decisions and with his staff decides the team.

"We have to analyse the defeats. It is difficult losing to Cadiz compared to Atletico [Madrid]. You have to look at how they marked us, how we attacked.

"If I am annoyed after a game I will let the players know. I told them yesterday before training that we cannot accept the way we played in certain games.

"What we discuss stays in the dressing room, but there are things we need to improve on. There is not much time to train but we can still seek maximum performance.

"In general, we are a team that creates five or six clear chances every game. We have to find a balance to take advantage of this, while making fewer mistakes."

Tuesday's visit of Juventus could be the sixth occasion that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have met in the Champions League, and their first such meeting since May 2011.

Messi is 3-0 up on Ronaldo in terms of goals in those previous fixtures, but he has been left out of Barca's squad for their past two European matches.

Koeman did not confirm whether Messi would feature against Juve but acknowledged Barca will have to be alert to keep Ronaldo quiet.

"The most important thing is to fight for first place and Cristiano is still one of the best around," Koeman said. "He works every day to stay at the top.

"We have to respect him and must try to keep hold of the ball so he cannot hurt us.

"It is great that both players have maintained this level of performance for 15 years. For me they have been the two best players in the world in recent years.

"Their characteristics are very different but both are very capable of scoring goals, hat-tricks, winning titles - they have both done and won many things."

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is facing another spell on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring.

The France international was sent on as a half-time substitute in Saturday's shock 2-1 LaLiga loss to Cadiz.

He completed the match but it has now been revealed he suffered an "elongation" in the hamstring of his right leg.

Barca confirmed the news on their official website on Sunday but did not provide a specific timeline for his return.

Dembele has been plagued by injuries since joining Barca from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017 for an initial €105million.

The 23-year-old has started four league games this term - already one more than he managed in the whole of 2019-20.

Of the seven LaLiga matches Dembele has started since the start of last season, Barca have won three, lost three and drawn one.

That 43 per cent win rate rises to 63 per cent in the 41 games the attacker has not started - 26 wins, seven losses and eight draws.

He has one goal and no assists in his eight league outings this term, though only Lionel Messi (4.5) and Francisco Trincao (4.2) have completed more dribbles per 90 minutes for Barca than Dembele's 3.2.

Barca, who have made their worst start to a league season in 33 years, were already without Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti due to injury.

Ronald Koeman's men start a run of four successive home matches with a Champions League group stage clash against Juventus on Tuesday.

Ronald Koeman believes Antoine Griezmann is growing in confidence and the Barcelona head coach hopes the forward's run of form can continue.

Griezmann scored for the third straight game for the first time in his Barca career with the opener in Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League win at Ferencvaros.

Martin Braithwaite doubled the lead before Ousmane Dembele's penalty as Barca, without the rested Lionel Messi, won their first five group stage games in a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2002-03.

But Griezmann's form is a particular boost amid the club's inconsistencies in LaLiga and Koeman praised the forward.

"It is always a matter of trust of a player. As I said many times, Antoine has always worked hard to improve his game and effectiveness for the team," he said.

"Now the goals come in and he is convinced because he has quality. I think this is important for any player.

"I hope he can continue with this effectiveness he's having lately."

After Griezmann's brilliant flicked finish for the opener, Dembele set up Braithwaite before getting on the scoresheet himself.

No player had more shots than Dembele's five and Koeman said the forward's performance would give him selection headaches.

"Dembele is a great player. He has a lot of quality, one on one, he is very fast, he is effective and manages both legs," he said.

"The most important thing is he is physically very well. He is working well.

"We know there are different players at the front and it is difficult for the manager to decide when people like Dembele are playing at this level."

Sitting seventh in LaLiga, Barca are away to Cadiz on Saturday.

Barcelona coped admirably without Lionel Messi in their ranks as they eased to a 3-0 win over Ferencvaros in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

Messi was rested for the second consecutive Group G game due to concerns over his fitness and with Ronald Koeman's men already assured of a place in the last 16.

Barca eased to victory against the Hungarian champions thanks to goals from Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele inside the opening half an hour.

The LaLiga giants have now won nine of their last 10 Champions League games without Messi, drawing the other, since a 2-1 loss to Ajax in November 2013.

Braithwaite banging them in for Barca

Nobody has profited more from the recent rotation than Braithwaite, who has now started three straight games and scored in each of them, netting four in total.

In doing so, the Denmark international - who scored a brace in the 4-0 win over Dynamo Kiev last time out - became the first Barca player to score in his first two Champions League starts since David Villa in 2010.

Braithwaite rounded off a slick team move that consisted of 33 passes - the most in the build-up for a goal in the Champions League this season.

Pjanic pulls the strings

Holding midfielder Pjanic played a key part in that impressive goal and was heavily involved throughout a game that allowed him to showcase his passing talents.

The former Lyon, Roma and Juventus man attempted 134 passes at the Puskas Arena, which is his best tally in 77 appearances in the competition, and the most of any player in UEFA's flagship competition this term.

Pjanic completed 126 of those passes - 45 more than next best Oscar Mingueza, who has now helped Barca keep three clean sheets in his three senior appearances.

French forwards find scoring touch

Griezmann also appears to finally be finding some consistency for the club he joined from Atletico Madrid for a huge fee last year, elegantly backheeling in Jordi Alba's low cross to score for the third Barcelona game running for the first time.

That set the tone for what was to come, with Dembele rounding off the scoring from the penalty spot to make it three goals in four Champions League appearances in 2020-21 - already his joint-most in a single season, level with 2018-19.

It meant the simplest of victories in Budapest for Koeman's men, who have won their opening five group fixtures for the first time since 2002-03 under Louis van Gaal.

The LaLiga side's return of 16 goals is their most in a group-stage campaign since 2016-17 when they scored 20 goals across their six matches.

Antoine Griezmann continued his recent goalscoring form as Barcelona eased to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Ferencvaros in Champions League Group G on Wednesday.

France striker Griezmann struck early on as he netted in three consecutive games for the first time in a Barca shirt.

Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele were also on the scoresheet for Barcelona, who had already qualified for the competition's knockout phase.

The victory also ensured Barca won their first five Champions League group stage games for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign and they lead second-placed Juventus by three points with one match remaining.

Lionel Messi was rested by Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman for the trip to Hungary but without the influential Argentina international his side played some superb football.

Barcelona's opener came via Griezmann in the 14th minute, the forward elegantly backheeling in Jordi Alba's low cross.

Koeman's side increased their advantage moments later when Dembele unlocked the Ferencvaros defence with a jinking run before his cross was met by the sliding boot of Braithwaite to complete a 33-pass move.

The lively Braithwaite then won a penalty just before the half-hour after he went down following a slightly mistimed tackle by Abraham Frimpong.

Dembele confidently stepped up and sent Ferencvaros goalkeeper Denes Dibusz the wrong way with a clinical spot-kick.

Braithwaite tamely shot wide from a good position before the half-time break before Barcelona started to take things easy in the second half.

Dembele burst into life when he rampaged forward on a fine solo run, only to see his shot fly into the side netting.

The France forward carried Barca's main threat in the remainder of the contest and twice brought smart saves out of Dibusz late in the game, in a stylish win.

Lautaro Martinez's future continues to dominate headlines.

Martinez was tipped to leave Inter for Barcelona at the start of the season, but a move did not materialise amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, Manchester City are emerging as a serious suitor.

 

TOP STORY – CITY WANT LAUTARO

Manchester City are continuing their pursuit of Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to the Mirror.

Martinez has been heavily linked with LaLiga giants Barcelona, as well as Real Madrid and City, where Pep Guardiola is eyeing a long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero.

The Argentina international has made his demands clear to Inter, who are hoping to re-sign Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

Barca are open to the idea of selling Ousmane Dembele, says Mundo Deportivo. Dembele was wanted by Manchester United prior to the previous transfer window closing and Barca are reportedly aware of contacts between the France international and the Premier League side.

Arsenal are ready to part with club-record signing Nicolas Pepe, reports the Daily Star. Unconvinced about the Ivory Coast international, the Gunners are even reportedly open to a loan move amid links to Milan.

- The Sun claims Leeds United want Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui once fan favourite Marcelo Bielsa leaves Elland Road.

- The Mirror claims United want to sign former defender Jonny Evans from Leicester City. Evans – who won three Premier League titles at Old Trafford – left United for West Brom in 2015 before joining Leicester in 2018.

- Barca have offered Philippe Coutinho to Juventus, according to Calciomercato. Barca need to raise funds as they look to recruit Lyon captain Memphis Depay and City defender Eric Garcia.

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