(PA) Thursday 20 January 2011
Barcelona survived an almighty scare against Real Betis to book their place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey after a 6-3 aggregate victory.
Pep Guardiola's side looked assured of their place in the last four after cruising to a 5-0 win in the first leg, but were quickly on the rack tonight as two goals in the opening seven minutes from Jorge Molina set second-tier Betis on the way to a 3-1 win. The result brought an end to Barcelona's record run of 28 games unbeaten.
The start was a humiliating one for a Barcelona team which, while weakened, still boasted the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi, Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique. And Messi it was who restored some Catalan pride seven minutes before the break as he fired home to reduce the deficit and leave Betis needing to score seven goals to progress.
In the end the hosts could manage just one more goal, through Arzu on the stroke of half-time, but Barcelona's humiliation was not yet quite complete, with Messi's uncharacteristic penalty miss in the second period typifying a poor display by the Primera Division leaders.
In the night's other quarter-final second leg, Almeria beat Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 to complete a 4-2 aggregate win and secure their place in the final four for the first time. Corona opened the scoring for Almeria in the 19th minute while Albert Crusat made it 2-0 just 60 seconds later.
Depor fought back onto level terms through Pablo Alverez's penalty two minutes before the break and Adrian Lopez's header seven minutes after the restart. But Henok Goitom's penalty put Almeria out of sight in the 55th minute to secure a semi-final berth against Barcelona. fifa.com