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Lionel Messi scores as Barcelona defeat Vallecano, qualify for Copa del Rey quarter-final

SPAIN – Barcelona needed to fight from a goal down to defeat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 and qualify for the quarter-final of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi returned to the starting XI after serving a two-match ban.

Despite his return, Barca could not find a way through in the opening 45 minutes they dominated.

Rayo then grew into the game and took the lead in the second half with a tap-in from Fran Garcia, after keeper Neto spilled the ball right into his path.

Barcelona drew level through Messi on a counter-attack, after he was set up by Antoine Griezmann.

Soon after, the Catalans took the lead as Jordi Alba set up Frenkie de Jong for another close-range finish

Sevilla joined Barca in Friday’s quarter-final draw by crushing 2019 Copa winners Valencia 3-0 at home.

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