Lionel Messi scores as Barcelona enter Copa del Rey semi-finals

Written by: IANS
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Barcelona, Jan 27: FC Barcelona dismantled Real Sociedad 5-2 to advance to the Copa del Rey semi-finals for the 7th straight year.

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After edging Sociedad 1-0 in the first leg of the quarter-final, the defending Copa champions put on a show in front of nearly 59,000 fans at Camp Nou on Thursday, Efe news reported.

Lionel Messi, 2nd left, celebrates with team-mates after scoring a penalty during Copa del Rey quarter-final

In the first half, Barça focused more on controlling the game than chasing goals. Even so, the hosts opened the scoring in the 17th minute with the first of two from Denis Suarez.

Sociedad, who needed two goals to have a hope of advancing, relied on a high press, but failed to register a shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes, though Barcelona keeper Jasper Cillessen contributed his share of clearances.

The visitors started the second half in high gear and quickly redressed the imbalance in possession.

William Jose had a chance to equalize, but Cillessen made an outstanding save, setting the stage for a counter that would seal the win for Barça.

Sociedad's Iñigo Martinez brought down Neymar and Lionel Messi converted from the spot in the 58th minute to give Barcelona a 2-0 lead for the night and a 3-0 advantage on aggregate.

Despite the heavy odds against them, the visitors responded and Juanmi clawed back a goal in the 62nd minute, taking advantage of a miscue by Cillessen.

Within a minute, however, Luis Suarez scored to make it 3-1 for the hosts.

The intensity on both sides dipped notably after that, only to return when William Jose scored on a header in the 73rd minute to cut Barça's lead to 3-2.

Messi played a role in Arda Turan's tally in the 80th and provided an assist on Denis Suarez's second goal at the 83-minute mark.

Barcelona joins Atletico Madrid, Alaves and Celta Vigo in the semi-finals.

IANS

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