Barcelona, Sevilla in Spanish Cup semisJanuary 30th, 2009 - 1:27 pm ICT by IANS
Madrid, Jan 30 (DPA) Barcelona edged their way into the semi-finals of the Spanish King’s Cup with a tense 3-2 home win over crosstown rivals Espanyol, with two goals from teenager Bojan Krkic.Barca Wednesday go into the semis on a 3-2 aggregate, given that the first leg last week was a 0-0 draw.
Barca seemed to be cruising to a handsome win with half an hour left and 3-0 on the scoreboard. However, late goals from Espanyol reserves Coro and Jose Callejon left the visitors just one goal away from a major upset - and left the 80,000 fans in the Camp Nou begging for the final whistle.
“We were a little bit nervous at the end,” said Barca playmaker Xavi. “We should really have killed the game off earlier,” added the Euro 2008 top player.
Bojan had given Barca the lead six minutes before half-time, when Espanyol keeper Cristian Alvarez spilled a hopeful shot from Sylvinho.
Four minutes into the second half, Xavi set up Bojan to make it 2- 0 with a classy chip. And in the 55th minute, Gerard Pique seemed to have polished off Espanyol by heading in his first goal for Barca.
But five minutes later, Coro pulled a goal back for the visitors with a long shot that took a wicked deflection off Carles Puyol.
And in the 69th minute, Callejon made it 3-2 with a spectacular long drive that Barca keeper Jose Manuel Pinto made a hash of.
Barca nervously played out the final minutes, and were helped by the sending-off of Espanyol defender Daniel Jarque.
Earlier, Sevilla edged out holders Valencia thanks to a late goal from defender Sebastien Squillaci.
Squillaci’s last-gasp goal gave Sevilla a 2-1 and puts them through on the away goals rule, since they lost 3-2 in Valencia last week.
Carlos Marchena headed Valencia into an early lead, only for the ageless Frederic Kanoute to make it 1-1 with a headed goal of his own.
Sevilla pinned the holders back throughout the second half and deserved the late win, which came when just one minute from time, Squillaci stabbed home a loose ball after the Valencia defence had failed to clear a corner.
“I think we just about deserved to go through,” said Sevilla keeper Andres Palop, who had enjoyed a quiet night.
In the semi-finals, Sevilla will face Athletic Bilbao, who won 2-1 away to Sporting Gijon on Wednesday.
In the other semi-final, Barca will take on Mallorca, who edged out Betis on a tight 1-0 aggregate.
Tags: barca, callejon, camp nou, carles puyol, carlos marchena, coro, crosstown rivals, cup semis, deflection, euro 2008, frederic kanoute, gasp goal, gerard pique, jarque, krkic, last gasp, playmaker, six minutes, spanish cup, spanish king