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No quarter given (5-0)

Lionel Messi crowned his triumph in winning the Ballon d'Or this week by hitting a stunning hat-trick as FC Barcelona took a huge stride towards a place in the Copa del Rey semi finals with victory over Real Betis.

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13 January 2011 12:22 PM

by

Jordi Clos

Barcelona (FCB).- The Argentinian paraded the award that he received on Monday in Zurich in front of the fans before the game in Camp Nou and then proved why he was voted as the best on the planet with a dazzling display against the second division leaders. Pedro and Seydou Keita added to the tally late on to ensure that the second leg will be extremely tough for Betis while Messi left the field to a standing ovation from the home fans.


Bright start

Pep Guardiola showed that he is paying full attention to the Copa del Rey as he named all six players that were included in the FIFPro Ideal XI in his starting line-up. There was an emotional start to the evening as the players paid homage to former Barça star Ángel Pedraza, who died recently aged just 48. The tribute the team then paid him was superb as Barça dominated the game and put the tie virtually beyond doubt. Betis did not make things easy though and they had several attempts at goal themselves and showed why they are favourites to win their place in the top flight back at the end of the current campaign.

Early chances

Early on David Villa hit the woodwork and then produced a great save from Casto Espinosa in the visitors' goal with a free-kick. The Betis custodian also showed stunning reflexes to deny Messi the Argentinian had chested the ball down. Going forward Barça were looking sharp, but they were not having everything their own way and the Andaluician outfit pushed forward and ensured that Gerard Piqué and Carles Puyol had to be on their toes to protect José Manuel Pinto. The Blaugrana keeper was called into action when Iriney sent a looping header goalwards.

Opening effort

Betis appeared to be taking a clean sheet into the break with them, but that was premature thinking as Messi showed why he edged Xavi and Andrés Iniesta to lift the Ballon d'Or with another decisive effort. Iniesta picked out his trademark run behind the defence from the right with a slide rule pass and after taking one touch Messi clipped the ball up and beyond Casto and into the net with 43 minutes gone.

More Messi

Just after the hour mark and Barça were two ahead and it was Messi again who hit the target. Casto stopped his first effort from close range, but the forward regained possession and slotted the ball through the keeper's legs and into the far corner of the net. The hat-trick was complete in minute 73 when Messi was sent through down the middle by Xavi and clipped the ball past Casto after waiting for the Betis player to commit himself to a dive.

Two more

Despite conceding so many Casto had a good game as he denied Dani Alves on two occasions, but he could do nothing in minute 75 when the Brazilian saw his effort come back to him and he laid it on a plate for Pedro to drive home. The fifth arrived seven minutes from time when Iniesta did superbly to stop the ball on the touchline and lob it up and over Casto for Keita to nod in from close range.

Goals

1-0 Messi (min 43)
2-0 Messi (min 62)
3-0 Messi (min 73)
4-0 Pedro (min 75)
5-0 Keita (min 83)

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  • Iniesta congratulates Messi after one of his 3 goals (by FC Barcelona)

  • Barça players celebrate one of the 5 goals against Betis (by FC Barcelona)

  • Iniesta congratulates Messi after one of his 3 goals (by FC Barcelona)
  • Barça players celebrate one of the 5 goals against Betis (by FC Barcelona)