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Holders Barcelona crush Sevilla in Copa del Rey tie


IANS Barcelona
FC Barcelona hammered Sevilla 6-1 to win the Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie 6-3 on aggregate and keep alive their dream of hoisting the trophy for a fifth consecutive year.
Lionel Messi was absent for last week's first leg in Seville and a flat Barça side lost 0-2, reports Efe news.
But the Argentine superstar was in the line-up for the must win contest at Camp Nou here on Wednesday, along with most of the other regular starters.
The tone was set by a pair of penalties 13 minutes apart at opposite ends.
While Philippe Coutinho easily converted in the 13th minute after Quincy Promes was cited for an innocent encounter with Messi, keeper Jasper Cillessen made a sensational stop to deny Sevilla's Ever Banega from the spot in the 26th minute following Gerard Pique's clear cut foul on Roque Mesa.
The penalty try was one of only two chances for the visitors in the entire first half, a measure of Barcelona's dominance.
The hosts also benefited from a lacklustre performance by visiting keeper Juan Soriano, whose mistaken decision to come off his line set up an easy goal for Ivan Rakitic in the 31st minute to tie the overall score at 2-2.
Barça would have pulled ahead before the break if Pique had been more accurate with his header off a corner.
The defending champions maintained the frenetic tempo in the second half and Coutinho scored in the 53rd minute, getting his head to a Luis Suarez cross.
Before Sevilla could react, Sergi Roberto made it 4-0 (4-2) a minute later with an assist from Messi. And Coutinho was ready to celebrate a hat trick in the 64th minute, but his goal was disallowed for an offside.
Despite the lead, Barcelona wanted more goals and their ambition on the attack created space at the back. A poor clearance by Cillessen allowed Guilherme Arana to claw back a goal for Sevilla in the 67th minute.
Soriano then thwarted what looked like a sure goal by Messi and Sevilla turned up the pressure in hopes of scoring again to force the match into extra time.
But just as Barça seemed to be in trouble, Suarez and Messi produced goals a minute apart to seal the victory.

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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 3:02 PM IST

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