Málaga vs. Barcelona  2 - 4

Article

Copa del Rey wrap: Barca shrug off dogged Malaga

25 January 2013 00:12

Barcelona have set up a Copa del Rey semi-final showdown with Real Madrid after battling to a 4-2 win over Malaga on Thursday.

The result gave Barca a 6-4 aggregate victory, following a 2-2 draw in the first leg at Camp Nou.

Twice Barca went ahead, through Pedro and Gerard Pique, and twice they were pegged back, first by Joaquin, and then by Roque Santa Cruz.

But the Catalans reclaimed the lead through Andres Iniesta before Lionel Messi sealed their progression to the semi-finals with a late header.

Tito Vilanova's side took the lead inside eight minutes at La Rosaleda, after Dani Alves advanced down the right wing and slipped a pass inside that Pedro cleverly allowed to run on to Xavi.

The playmaker took a moment before playing the ball through to Alves, who had continued his run in behind the Malaga defence. The Brazilian then calmly assessed his options before deftly chipping the ball up for the supporting Pedro to head home.

Malaga drew level less than four minutes later, Joaquin sweeping home from just inside the Barca box.

With scores locked at 1-1 at half-time, Malaga held the advantage on the away goals rule, but Barca reclaimed the lead within four minutes of the restart, with Pique showing the poise of a centre forward in controlling a precision pass from Iniesta before slotting past Carlos Kameni.

Malaga levelled on 68 minutes when Joaquin turned provider to Santa Cruz, who angled a shot past Jose Pinto.

But two goals in the final 15 minutes were enough to send Barcelona through.

Iniesta again provided the inspiration, playing another wonderful one-two, on this occasion with Cesc Fabregas, before sliding the ball under the advancing Kameni and when Messi headed home on 80 minutes Barca had booked themselves a mouth-watering Clasico semi-final.

In Thursday's other match, Atletico Madrid secured their place in the last four with a 1-1 draw at Real Betis giving them a 3-1 aggregate win.

Diego Costa put Atletico ahead on the stroke of half-time, meaning Jorge Molina's 90th-minute penalty was nothing more than a consolation for the hosts.

Article

Roura braced for crucial clash

23 January 2013 19:09

Barcelona assistant Jordi Roura believes the Copa del Rey quarter-final clash with Malaga is the team's first must-win game of the season.

Manuel Pellegrini's Malaga side took a 2-2 draw away from Camp Nou in the first leg and Roura is well aware of the importance of winning the game on the back of a 3-2 defeat to Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.

"This is the first must-win game we have had this season and we will travel out there with that intention," Roura told reporters.

"I do not think that they will need a special message from me beforehand. I have no doubt that we will give everything we can to progress."

Roura, standing in for Tito Vilanova as the head coach continues his recovery from cancer treatement, admitted he is conscious of the possibility of a cup upset and said his players will be determined to ensure that does not happen.

"Everyone is aware of the importance of the shock and we will put the intensity into the game that it deserves. The team always wants to play and we all know the importance of having a good attitude," he said.

"They've had the same amount of days to rest as us and it's a huge game for them too, the chance to get to the semi-finals. Each game has its own characteristics. This one will be very complicated. They have many things in their favour, the fans, the score from the first leg and that this game will be played at their ground."

However, Roura has dismissed the notion the game has come at the wrong time for Barca, who have not won in their last two games, and thinks the team will have enough to progress to the semi-final.

"The first half in San Sebastian (in the first leg) was first class, as it was against Malaga (last week). Then both games became difficult for us. The game has not come at a bad time for us," he said.

"Right now, looking at how the players are doing and the effort they are putting in, I think we'll qualify, but this is football, and anything can happen."

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
9 3 +0 4
10 3 -2 4
11 3 -2 4
12 3 +0 3
13 3 -1 3

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 3 +6 9
2 3 +5 7
3 3 +3 7
4 3 +2 7
5 3 +2 5