Oscar Melendo’s late goal saw Espanyol snatch a 1-0 win and inflict a first defeat on Barcelona since August, after Lionel Messi failed to score a penalty in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
A dominant Barca looked as though they would have to settle for a goalless draw after Messi saw his second-half spot kick saved by Diego Lopez on Wednesday, but little did they know that things were to get even worse.
Espanyol caught them on the break late on and youngster Melendo provided a neat finish for his first senior goal, inflicting a first defeat on Barca since the Spanish Supercopa.
But for all their control, the first half proved particularly frustrating, as clear-cut chances were hard to come by and when the visitors did manage to craft an opening, the opportunity was wasted or saved.
They should have taken the lead just after the hour when Messi stepped up from 12 yards out, but Lopez rescued Espanyol with a brilliant save and Melendo – introduced from the bench – struck two minutes from time to secure an unlikely victory for the home side.