Levante beat FC Barcelona 2-1 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie, although a late penalty means Barca are still favorites to qualify for the next round.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde rested Leo Messi and Luis Suarez, along with Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Clement Lenglet and handed a debut to Jeison Murillo, while also including B-team defenders Juan Brandariz and Juan Miranda in his starting 11.

Levante took advantage of the lack of cohesion in the Barca defense to open the scoring with the unmarked Erick Cabaco powering home a header in the 4th minute, before Borja Mayoral doubled the home side's lead after linking with the impressive Emmanuel Boateng in the 18th minute.

Barca went close on several occasions in an entertaining first half, but Levante were pressing hard and were always a threat on the break.

Mayoral drew another save from Jasper Cillessen early in the second half, while Phillipe Coutinho fired over at the other end as the game showed no sign of slowing down after the break.

It could have been much worse for Barca, but Cillessen produced a fine save to deny Levante substitute Jose Luis Morales in the 64th minute and the Cup holders got a vital away goal 5 minutes from time when Coutinho scored from the penalty spot after Coke fouled Barca sub, Denis Suarez.

Sevilla took a giant stride towards the quarter-final with a 3-1 win away to Athletic Club Bilbao.

Nolito opened the scoring in the opening minutes and although Mikel San Jose leveled early in the second half for the home side, Sevilla controlled the game well and took advantage of defensive errors to virtually kill the tie off with further goals from Andre Silva and Wissan Ben Yedder.

Betis and Real Sociedad left everything to be decided for next week's return leg after a 0-0 draw in Betis' Benito Villamarin Stadium.

The best news in the game was the return to action of Real Sociedad midfielder Luca Sangali after he had suffered a minor stroke in October.

Wednesday saw Atletico Madrid draw 1-1 away to Girona, while Real Madrid defeated Leganes 3-0.