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Sevilla 0-1 Barcelona: Lone Xavi Strike Not Enough As Andalucians Progress On Away Goals Rule

Sevilla 0-1 Barcelona (agg: 2-2) - Lineup/Stats
Copa del Rey Fixtures & Results

Barcelona nabbed the only goal of the night through Xavi just past the hour mark but Sevilla denied them a winning aggregate goal despite a ruthless onslaught from the visitors. Sevilla qualified for the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey on away goals having scored twice at the Camp Nou in the first leg.

Trailing 2-1 at home, Barca coach, Pep Guardiola did not hesitate naming his strongest possible outfield team on a wet, soggy night in Seville.

But it was the hosts who almost took the lead after just two minutes. Jesus Navas' corner found Romaric, whose header was brilliantly parried away by Jose Pinto, before the rebound was blocked by Dani Alves.

The Andalucians had another chance moments later when Adriano dinked in a cross from the left which drew out Pinto, who did just enough to flail at the ball and forced Alvaro Negredo to nod his header off target.

The reigning Copa del Rey champions continued to be pinned back in their own half, and Jesus Navas' blistering 50 yard run to beat Eric Abidal and Andres Iniesta sent the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan crowd leaping to their feet, but his eventual cross was easily cleared by Gerard Pique.

Barca's first decent shot at goal came on 15 minutes when Thierry Henry cut in towards the middle from the left, but his shot was easily gathered by Andres Palop.

Sevilla had the ball in the back of the net in the 20th minute when a Pinto carelessly attempted to dribble a backpass out of his area, but he was robbed by Negredo and Jesus Navas coolly chipped the ball into the empty net, only for the referee to annul the goal after deeming that the former Real Madrid striker had illegally won possession.

Barcelona had the best chance of the game on 27 minutes when Messi's deflected cross found Ibrahimovic completely unmarked at the backpost, but the Swede's attempt to curl a right-foot lob past Palop went horribly wrong as his effort bobbled all the way to the corner flag.

Moments later, Messi had his first shot at goal when he tried to nestle the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards out, but Palop dived full stretch to turn it around the post. The Catalan outfit gradually took control of proceedings and the home crowd began to grow restless, and Henry gave Palop a few nervous moments with a number of dangerous low crosses from the left.

But despite the game remaining an open affair, neither side could break the deadlock on the night after 45 minutes.

Barcelona started off the second half at breakneck speed as they started to show more urgency. Just a minute in, Messi picked up a loose ball off Ibrahimovic and galloped forwards, before slipping in a through ball to Iniesta which Palop managed to claim after darting off his line.

Ibrahimovic then sent a looping back header from Messi's free kick towards the top corner but Palop made an acrobatic save to punch it out.

Straight to the other end, Navas again saw his effort roll across the line but he was ruled out for offside. The action didn't let up and Iniesta came close on 55 minutes when he dribbled past three players into the box, but he miscued his eventual shot under a challenge from Julien Escude and Abdoulay Konko was able to clear it away calmly.

Messi then forced Palop into a fine save with a shot from a tight angle and the veteran goalkeeper was called into action again with a fingertip block to deny Henry.

But on 63 minutes, Barca pulled the aggregate scores levelled when Romaric's clearance spun off Xavi, but the ball fell kindly back to the playmaker to arrow in a thunderous drive on the edge of the box into Palop's bottom left corner.

Three minutes after that, Messi almost put the visitors in front outright when he ran onto Henry's through ball but his chip over Palop bounced wide. The FIFA World Player of the Year had another glorious opportunity moments later when he shimmied his way into the box and curled in a shot, only to see it cannon back off the post before Ibrahimovic stabbed the rebound well wide.

With 15 minutes to go, Sevilla almost killed off the tie on the counter attack. Jesus Navas blitz past three players in a searing run before slipping in Diego Capel, who decided to square the ball to Negredo in the middle but Puyol made a pivotal sliding tackle to flick the ball out for a corner at the far post.

A goalmouth scramble with five minutes to go presented Messi with yet another chance, but his low shot was slapped away by Palop.

The pressure from Barcelona was unrelenting as the clock ticked down but in the end, Sevilla held on to hand Pep Guardiola a taste of his first ever elimination from a cup competition as the Andaluz side go on to meet Deportivo La Coruna in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

KS Leong,