Barcelona debutant Jeison Murillo sure of Copa del Rey progress despite Levante reversal

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Jeison Murillo is taking heart from Philippe Coutinho’s late goal after Barcelona were stunned 2-1 by Levante in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie.

The defending champions were heading for a convincing defeat following early goals from Erick Cabaco and Borja Mayoral, who is on loan from Barca’s rivals Real Madrid.

But Coutinho gave them hope of turning the round-of-16 tie around at Camp Nou next week with a 85th-minute penalty after substitute Denis Suarez, a reported Arsenal target, was upended by Coke.

And debutant Murillo is hoping Barca, without Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the night, can build on Coutinho’s strike in the second leg.

“The result is not the best,” Murillo was quoted as saying by Marca.

“We have to take advantage of Coutinho’s goal at home.”

Defender Murillo was making his debut for Barca after joining on loan from La Liga rivals Valencia last month.

The Colombian was disappointed to taste defeat on his bow, but is working hard to impress boss Ernesto Valverde.

“It’s a bittersweet night,” he added.

“I’ve tried to fit into the group. I’m taking things positively. The coach keeps asking me to work.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Toulouse president slams Barcelona over Jean Clair-Todibo transfer

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Jean Clair-Todibo

Toulouse president Loivier Sadran has expressed his discontent on how Barcelona and Jean-Clair Todibo dealt with the defender’s transfer.

The Catalan club announced on Tuesday that they acquired the services of the 18-year-old on a pre-contract and he will move to Spain on July 1.

Sadran believes the La Liga champions did not come out well in this whole episode.

“The player has been badly advised and Barcelona haven’t been good either,” he said in an interview with L’Equipe.

“They acted with arrogance in this deal and coming from a big club, it isn’t very gracious behaviour, although legally they did have the right to do so,” he said.

“He is a player who has a lot of quality but who has almost no experience.”

Todibo joins fellow French defenders Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet at Barcelona.

Central defence, however, has proven a problem area for the club this season, with Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen both out injured.

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Gerard Pique defends VAR after serious criticism

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Gerard Pique

It was a favourable night of football for Barcelona as they watched their closest title contenders Atletico Madrid and Sevilla drop points and rivals Real Madrid lose 2-0 to Real Sociedad at home.

However, the night was marred by some controversial decisions. Getafe were denied a clear goal against Barcelona for a perceived foul on Clement Lenglet.

There was heavy criticism of VAR on Sunday night, given Madrid too had certain decisions go against them.

However, Gerard Pique believes that the fault lies in the mindset of the people who like to criticise everything and not VAR in itself.

“When there was no VAR it was because there was no VAR,” the defender said after the game.

“When there is, it’s because there is.

“I’ve already said it, but in this country, we love controversy and that is why there are programs that live off of controversy, it’s cultural.

“VAR helps the referee and that is the important thing.”

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