Philippe Coutinho finally made his long-awaited Barcelona debut, replacing Andres Iniesta, in a 2-0 win over Espanyol in the Copa del Rey.
A thigh injury sustained prior to his move kept Coutinho out of action for three weeks. He replaced the Barcelona captain in the 67th minute of the game to finally mark his debut. While Philippe Coutinho made his debut for the club, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez added to their scoring run as Barcelona advanced to the semifinals of the Copa del Rey for the eighth straight year on Thursday.
By the time Philippe Coutinho came on to replace Andres Iniesta, only 22 minutes were remaining on the clock and Barcelona were already two goals up, thanks to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez for their wonderful strikes. The Camp Nou crowd stood to applaud as Coutinho clapped hands with Iniesta and ran on to the pitch to make his first appearance for the club, slotting into a four-man midfield alongside Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, and Paulinho.
What a debut from Coutinho today.
It almost seemed like the two of them had been playing together for years. pic.twitter.com/pWBXUsJiUj
— totalBarça (@totalBarca) January 26, 2018
His first touch came off a pass from Messi and the few after that were greeted by huge cheers. Less than two minutes on the pitch his trickery drew a foul which provided Barcelona with a free kick. But unlike his time at Liverpool, it wasn’t Coutinho who stepped up to take that free kick- it was the Argentine wizard instead. Coutinho kept things simple on his debut whenever he had the ball, displaying tidy footwork and linking up well with Lionel Messi whenever he had a chance.
Luis Suarez Apologizes To Philippe Coutinho:
Just seven minutes into his Barcelona debut, the Brazilian playmaker nearly bagged an assist after laying on a perfect pass for Luis Suarez to score from the close range, but the Uruguayan found his shot denied by a good save from Pau Lopez. Slipped through by Messi, Coutinho squared the ball towards Suarez who was gutted to miss that.
Tweeting after the game, Suarez admitted his mistake and promised to convert the chances Coutinho provides him with in future.
A SEMIS Felicitaciones por el debut @Phil_Coutinho y espero a la próxima poder hacer el gol . GRAN TRABAJO EQUIPO!!!!!
TO SEMIFINALS Congratulations for your debut @Phil_Coutinho and I hope to score next time . GREAT TEAM WORK!!!!! pic.twitter.com/g712KHA5MY
— Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) January 25, 2018
The draw for the Copa del Rey last four takes place on Friday and Barca are joined by Sevilla, Leganes, and Valencia. Coutinho will certainly look forward to grabbing that silverware after a less successful spell at Anfield in that regard.
I guess the Brazilian would be a huge success at Barcelona. Coutinho’s style of football will see him fit well in Barcelona’s midfield. And with Andres Iniesta entering the last stage of playing career, he’ll play fewer matches. Coutinho can offer Barcelona what Iniesta does for them.
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