Coutinho thanks Messi for penalty gesture
Philippe Coutinho thanked Lionel Messi for allowing him to take a confidence-boosting penalty as Barcelona hammered Sevilla to reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
Coutinho has endured a difficult season with Ousmane Dembele seemingly preferred by Ernesto Valverde, but the France winger's hamstring injury has opened a spot in Barca's attack.
And Coutinho grabbed his chance with both hands in Wednesday's second leg, scoring twice as Barca heaped more Copa del Rey misery on Sevilla, who they battered 5-0 in last year's final.
Barca's 6-1 victory overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first leg, when Messi was rested by Valverde, but the captain was in inspirational form at Camp Nou.
Not bad going, eh?
2019 - Semifinalists (for now)
2018 - Champions
2017 - Champions
2016 - Champions
2015 - Champions
2014 - Finalists
2013 - Semi Finalists
2012 - Champions
2011 - Finalists
2010 - Quarter Finalists
2009 - Champions
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 30, 2019
And when Messi was fouled by Quincy Promes he allowed Coutinho to step up to beat Juan Soriano and get the rout up and running, with former Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez, Sergi Roberto and Messi himself also on target.
"The penalty has come naturally," Coutinho told Barca TV. "Leo's gesture shows how great it is.
"Thanks to Leo, for letting me kick the penalty, that's good for the confidence of the group.
"We knew that to overcome, we had to be involved from the beginning."