Copa del Rey round-up
Barca and Almeria progress into semi-finals
Last Updated: 19/01/11 10:53pm
Guardiola: Barca lose but go through
Barcelona survived a scare at Real Betis to make their way into the last four of the Copa del Rey.
Primera Liga strugglers Almeria also have a semi-final date to look forward to after seeing off Deportivo La Coruna.
Barcelona were thankful for a 5-0 victory in the first leg of their showdown with Real Betis after slipping to a surprise 3-1 defeat in the return meeting.
Pep Guardiola's side, perhaps with their eye taken off the ball by their convincing victory on home soil, fell behind inside two minutes as Jorge Molina prodded home a free-kick from close range.
The hosts, who currently lead the way in the Spanish second division, then bagged a second five minutes later as Molina again slipped the ball past stand-in Barca keeper Jose Pinto.
World Player of the Year Lionel Messi rescued some pride for the visitors on 38 minutes, but they found themselves trailing by two again on the stroke of half-time as Arturo Arzu hooked home.
Betis did their best to complete a remarkable turnaround after the interval, but there were to be no further goals - with Messi proving he is human after all on 54 minutes as he lifted a penalty over the crossbar.
Almeria, fresh from holding Real Madrid to a surprise stalemate over the weekend, prevailed 3-2 away at Deportivo La Coruna to secure a 4-2 aggregate success.
The Andalusian outfit, who sit bottom of the Spanish top flight, held a narrow 1-0 lead heading into the tie and battled bravely to ensure it was they who kept their cup dreams alive.
Two quick goals midway through the first half gave them breathing space, with Miguel Angel Coruna breaking the deadlock on 19 minutes and Albert Crusat doubling that lead within 60 seconds.
Depor gave themselves hope, though, shortly before the interval when Nunez Pablo Alvarez successfully converted from the spot.
Adrian then restored parity on the night six minutes into the second half, but any hopes of a comeback from the hosts were crushed when Almeria were awarded a penalty of their own on 55 minutes.
Swedish striker Henok Goitom fired home to seal the win and set up a date with mighty Barca in the semi-finals.