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Messi shines again as Barca stroll into Cup quarters

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-01-12 11:00
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates during the Spanish King's Cup round of 16 second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Celta CF in Barcelona, Spain, on Jan 11, 2018. FC Barcelona won 5-0. [Photo/Xinhua]

MADRID - FC Barcelona brushed past Celta Vigo 5-0 and 6-1 on aggregate to book their place in the last 16 of the King's Cup knockout tournament on Thursday night.

Celta drew 2-2 in the Camp Nou in the Liga Santander earlier in the season and held Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw on Sunday and could have posed Barca problems.

With new signing Philippe Coutinho watching on from the stands, Leo Messi led the destruction of the Galician side. The Argentinean scored in the 13th and 15th minute following passes from Jordi Alba. He then returned the favor in the 28th minute with a pass which allowed Alba to put Barca 3-0 ahead.

Luis Suarez took advantage of a poor back pass three minutes later to make it 4-0 and end any chance of Celta getting back into the tie.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde decided to rest Gerard Pique at halftime and took Leo Messi off just before the hour mark to give Ousmane Dembele further gametime following his injury.

As a result, the second half was a dull affair as both sides started saving their strength for the weekend. It wasn't until the last minute that Ivan Rakitic netted the fifth from a corner taken by Dembele.

Earlier in the day Espanyol overturned a 2-1 first leg deficit against Levante to qualify 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a 2-0 win in Levante's Ciudad de Valencia Stadium. Goals from Leo Baptistao and Gerard Moreno sent Espanyol through.

Sevilla also qualified for the quarterfinals with a 4-1 aggregate win after beating Cadiz 2-1 thanks to goals from Wissam Ben Yedder and Joaquin Correa.

Thursday's qualifiers join Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Leganes, Alaves and Valencia who already sealed their qualification on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

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