Celta Vigo and Barcelona played out a 1-1 draw at the Balaidos in one of Thursday’s early kick offs with the Catalans guaranteed to be the happier of the two sides going into next Thursday’s second leg at the Camp Nou.
Barca boss Ernesto Valverde left out Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta from his matchday squad but still named a strong side which included Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets.
His side took just quarter an hour to open the scoring through José Arnaiz. Andre Gomes burst clear down the left and turned the defender inside out before squaring for youngster Arnaiz who found the bottom corner from close range.
Barca were playing well and had half chances but couldn’t add to their lead. Instead just 16 minutes later Celta were level in odd circumstances.
Iago Aspas stretched for a long ball and saw his effort hit the bar and then Barca keeper Jasper Cillesen before rebounding to Pione Sisto on the byline. Pique was too busy claiming for offside against the Dane giving the forward time to come inside and slam a high shot past Cillesen.
Paulinho flashed a shot wide and Denis Suarez missed a golden opportunity but other than that there wasn’t much goalmouth action with the match finishing all square.
Barca have that crucial away goal to take into next week with Celta knowing they will have to score at least once at the Camp Nou.
For the second round running, Real Madrid were awarded two penalties in their 3-0 win at Numancia. Despite the scoreline however, Real weren’t always comfortable.
In fact it was their keeper Kiko Casilla who had to make the game’s first save.
Numancia boss Jagoba Arraste was left fuming midway through the half when his side were denied what looked a stonewall penalty.
Dani Nieto looked to get on the end of a deep cross but felt he was fouled with replays showing a clear tug on his arm but the referee waved play on.
And with 35 minutes gone things got worse as Real took the lead, ironically via a penalty. Lucas Vazquez was tripped in the box and Gareth Bale coolly sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.
Pape Diamanka was then sent off for a second yellow card in the second half for a foul on Nacho but Numancia almost equalised.
Inigo Perez saw Casilla off his line so took aim from 50 yards and was very unlucky to see his shot come back off the underside of the bar.
Madrid were given a second penalty when Vazquez again went down, although this time it looked as though he had initiated the contact, with Isco this time scoring from 12 yards.
Borja Mayoral’s header in stoppage time ensured a comfortable scoreline before next week’s game at the Bernabeu.
Espanyol took the lead at home to Levante when Pablo Patti’s fantastic cross was nodded home by Gerard Moreno but Jose Morales’ penalty just before the break levelled things up.
Morales then turned provider in the 74th minute when his cutback was swept home by Ivi.
Sergi Darder smacked an effort from distance off the post with Leo Baptistao unable to knock home the rebound and Moreno saw his header wonderfully kept out by Raul Fernandez in stoppage time but it is Levante who take a slender lead into the second leg on Thursday.
Elsewhere, Leganes were again victorious against Villarreal as Nordin Amrabat’s early second half effort squeezed past Manuel Barbosa to give the Madrid side the advantage with their trip to the Estadio de la Ceramica to come in six days time.
Celta Vigo 1-1 Barcelona Leganes 1-0 Villarreal Espanyol 1-2 Levante Numancia 0-3 Real Madrid