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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 31, 2006

Matchwinner Messi key to Barca success in Cup

MADRID, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Barcelona will be looking to Argentine forward Lionel Messi to turn around their King's Cup tie against Real Zaragoza on Wednesday, as they trail 4-2 going into their quarter-final second leg in the Nou Camp.

The Argentine forward came off the bench to score twice in six minutes as his side laboured to a 3-0 win over a stubborn Real Mallorca in the league on Sunday.

With leading scorer Samuel Eto'o on duty with Cameroon at the African Nations Cup, the youngster's electric pace and eye for goal will be crucial to the Catalan side's success.

Coach Frank Rijkaard said: 'Everyone knows Messi is the type of player who can swing a game.

'On Sunday he was in the right place at the right time, scored twice, and could easily have had a third.'

The victory marked a return to normal service for Barca who had fallen to their first defeat in 25 outings in Zaragoza, in last week's first leg.

Victor Munoz's in-form side, cup winners in 2004, let slip a two-goal lead at Valencia on Sunday to draw 2-2, but in forwards Ewerthon and Diego Milito have enough firepower to trouble the strongest of defences.

The winners of their tie go on to meet Real Madrid in the semi-finals.

Deportivo Coruna have gone to the courts to have the last 46 minutes of their match against Valencia suspended pending an appeal hearing.

Their quarter-final second leg was abandoned after 44 minutes last week when a linesman was hit on the head by an object thrown from the crowd in Valencia's stadium.

Valencia, who had been reduced to 10-men following the early dismissal of Carlos Marchena, had just taken a 1-0 lead through David Villa, to level the aggregate scores at 1-1.

According to the rules the match will start for one minute plus time added on, before continuing after a regulation half time break.

The winners will meet Espanyol in the other semi-final.

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