Coutinho makes debut as Barca progress to Copa Semi-Final

DEBUT: The Brazilian replaced Andres Iniesta in the second half DEBUT: The Brazilian replaced Andres Iniesta in the second half @ChampionsLeague/Twitter

PHILIPPE Coutinho made his much anticipated debut as Barcelona overcame a 1-0 first-leg defeat at Espanyol to progress to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.

The 26-year-old was introduced as a 69th minute substitute in the 2-0 home win and replaced Andres Iniesta

The Brazilian signed in a club record €162 million deal earlier this month, but was forced to wait to make his debut after a niggling thigh injury.

Speaking to Barcelona’s official website after the match; the former Liverpool man admitted that he had been nervous prior to making his big debut.

He said"For me it's a great night, a very special night. They are my first minutes with this club and I'm very happy, thrilled.

"The reception I got from the fans and the players left me happy. I was a little anxious, nervous, but the way they all received me left me very calm.

First-half goals from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were enough to overturn the first leg defeat  to Espanyol as Barcelona join Valencia, Sevilla and Leganes in the final four.

Coutinho, who spent a season on loan at Espanyol in 2012, added "It's a special night and we've managed to win the game, which is the most important thing.

"It was a difficult game, as you'd expect, against a team who played well. I think from the first half we controlled the game well and we've deserved to win."

Benjamin Park

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