Barcelona survive scare to reach Copa del Rey semis

Madrid, Feb 4 : FC Barcelona have moved into the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, coming back from two goals down to beat Granada 5-3.

Barcelona on Wednesday night trailed 2-0 in the 88th minute before an own goal and a header from Jordi Alba saw them take the game to extra time, reports Xinhua news agency.

Barcelona started strongly with Lionel Messi seeing a shot blocked by Granada keeper Aaron, who also tipped Griezmann’s follow-up effort over the bar.

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Ronald Koeman had made his side’s intentions clear by fielding virtually his strongest side with Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in goal ahead of Neto, who had played in previous rounds.

Aaron did well to save a Messi free-kick as Barca dominated, but a bad error from Samuel Umtiti, who failed to clear under pressure, gifted the ball to Granada and Kenedy slotted home from close range.

The second half started with Soldado doubling Granada’s lead, latching onto a long ball that Umtiti misjudged badly, before running clear and beating Ter Stegen with a low shot.

For Barca, Francisco Trincao hit the bar after good work from Messi in the 62nd minute, before he was replaced by Martin Braithwaite, while Ousmane Dembele also came into the game.

Aaron tipped over an overhead kick from Antoine Griezmann for Barca’s 15th corner of the game with 10 minutes left to play, and when Dembele smashed a shot against the bar in the 87th minute it looked as if Barca’s luck was out.

Moments later, Griezmann gave Barca hope when his effort went in off the post. Messi hit the post in the last minute but there was still time for him and Griezmann to combine to set up Jordi Alba to equalize in the 92nd minute.

Granada looked shell-shocked and Griezmann put a rampant Barca ahead with a powerful header from a Messi cross 10 minutes into extra-time.

Granada were awarded a penalty a minute later when Sergino Dest barged Neva over in the Barca area and Federico scored from the spot.

Granada’s joy lasted only a couple of minutes before Frenkie de Jong put Barca back in front, reacting fastest after Aaron had blocked another Messi shot.

Alba then netted a volley to make it 5-3 and secure the win.

Elsewhere, Roger Marti’s goal in the last minute of extra-time against Villarreal saw Levante qualify for the semi-finals for the first time in their history.

The side from Valencia had to withstand a lot of pressure from Villarreal, who created more chances, but once again lacked firepower without striker Gerard Moreno.

As the game looked destined for penalties, Roger scored following a pass from Jose Luis Morales.

Sevilla booked their place in the last four on Tuesday, while Real Betis entertain Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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