First defeat in four months (3-1)
Barça have qualified for the semi finals of the Copa del Rey despite losing 3-1 at Betis. All of the goals were scored in a gripping first half, with Messi on target for Barça and also missing a penalty. It’s the first time FCB have lost since September 11.
Barcelona (FCB).- Barça\u2019s amazing 28 match unbeaten run has come to an end after going down 3-1 at the Benito Villamarín. But that was not enough to stop them progressing to the last four of the Copa del Rey.
The 5-0 first leg result suggested that this game would be something of a non-event, but as it happened the leaders of the First and Second Divisions produced a cracker. Few took Pep Guardiola seriously when he said his players still had to be careful, but it turns out he was right. Betis scored twice in the first quarter of an hour, and suddenly the miracle was in sight for the green-and-whites. Messi then silenced the crowd before Arzu added his team\u2019s third on the edge of half-time. In the second half, Barça did all they could to conserve their unbeaten record, but a missed Messi penalty typified the frustration as they tasted defeat for the first time in four months and eight days.
2-0 in seven minutes
Betis, backed by their vociferous fans, went straight out for the kill. The game was just a minute old when Jorge Molina latched onto a free kick in the six yard box and put his side ahead. Molina found the net again six minutes later when he skipped past Pinto after receiving an assist from Ezequiel to make it 2-0.
Betis were dominating the midfield and producing lethal crosses that had the Barça defence at sixes and sevens. Indeed, Piqué had to be quick to prevent Molina from completing a hat-trick when he was through on goal. It was extraordinary stuff. Betis were throwing all they had at Barcelona, and it was paying off in stunning fashion.
Both sides clearly wanted to win, a situation Barça have not faced too often of late. It wasn\u2019t until the 17th minute that Afellay produced his side\u2019s first serious chance and the famous Barça passing game had yet to make an appearance. And then it came. Messi made a break from midfield, rounded the centre back and slipped the ball under goalkeeper Casto. A speedy slice of magic and it was game over, for Betis now needed to score seven!
The dream was over for Betis, but when Arzu volleyed home a misjudged clearance to make it 3-1, at least they had the hope of winning on the night, and this was the first time under Guardiola that Barça had conceded three goals in the first half.
Barça clearly wanted to amends for their first half disappointment, and looked much more ambitious after the break. In the 52nd minute, a Messi strike was handled by Isidoro and the Argentinian himself stepped up to take it. But he slipped just as he was about to strike the ball, and it went flying over the Betis bar.
Barça controlled the pace in the second half, and we got our first real taste of just what a fine signing Afellay was. But Betis had not given up, and Nacho almost made it four when his effort struck the crossbar in the 66th minute. In an unprecedented move, Barcelona even opted to play a five-man defence at one point. Betis are to be commended on a spirited game tonight, but ultimately it counted for nothing, for Barça had already done the lion\u2019s share of the work a week ago, and the semi finals now await.
1-0 Molina (min 1)
2-0 Molina (min 7)
2-1 Messi (min 37)
3-1 Arzu (min 45+1)