King's Cup: Lionel Messi misses penalty as Barcelona go down to Espanyol

Lionel Messi missed a penalty as Barcelona lost for the first time in 29 matches.

With Barca flying at the top of La Liga and Espanyol mired in 14th, there was an obvious favorite here.

15 minutes after the restart, Barca were on the verge of scoring the opener after Sergi Roberto was fouled by Esteban Granero in the box.

The visitors looked threatening in the early stages as Sergio Busquets forced Diego Lopez into a fine save inside the opening 10 minutes.

Espanyol academy graduate Oscar Melendo crashed in the only goal of the game in the 88th minute to earn his side a slim first-leg lead.

The second leg of the tie at the Nou Camp is on January 25. Espanyol could yet ruin their fiercest rivals dreams of a treble.

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"We played with the same players in Vigo [against Celta] and I am happy with them", the coach said.

Barca fans were banned from the stadium but trouble briefly flared as Jasper Cillessen went down after being hit by a bottle top.

Barcelona midfielder Paulinho was replaced in the second half because of a foot injury. "It's always a big motivation to play against them".

"It was an open match, but they capitalized on their chances", Atletico coach Diego Simeone said.

Zinedine Zidane left out Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in a largely second-string Real side but not even the injection of youth could breathe life into his team until Asensio's late goal ended a run of three games without a win. His angled shot deflected off a defender and goalkeeper Antonio Sivera was unable to recover in time to make the save.

Forward Rodrigo scored the victor from close range, firing a shot that hit the post before going in.

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