Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 2-0 victory over Espanyol, sealing a 2-1 aggregate success and a place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey as Philippe Coutinho made his debut off the bench.
It had taken Suarez just eight minutes to cancel out Espanyol’s first-leg 1-0 lead. Jordi Alba was down injured on the near touchline as Barcelona poured forward down the right and when Messi found Aleix Vidal he crossed and Suarez threw himself at the ball flashing a bullet header past Pau Lopez in the Espanyol goal.
With both Real and Atletico Madrid having gone out in the quarter-finals, Barca will now compete with Sevilla, Valencia and Leganes for a place in the Copa del Rey showpiece. The draw for the semi-finals will be made on Friday.
Almost 80,000 fans at Camp Nou waved goodbye to Javier Mascherano pre-match, and Barca made a terrific start in the Catalan derby.
Mascherano joins a club that finished fourth in last season’s Chinese Super League, narrowly missing out on a place in this year’s AFC Champions League but who are among the favourites to claim the title in the upcoming season, which kicks off in March.