Soccer

Malaga holds Barcelona in Copa del Rey 1st leg quarterfinal

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Associated Press
1/16/2013 6:19:18 PM
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BARCELONA, Spain -- A 10-man Malaga held Barcelona to 2-2 at the Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The first leg began with Malaga's normally solid defence rocking as Barcelona nearly scored twice within the first seven minutes. Malaga has conceded only 16 goals in the Spanish league, the fewest.

Against the flow of play, Malaga opened the scoring when midfielder Manuel Iturra poached a ball that goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto tentatively sent up to defender Thiago Alcantara in the 25th minute.

Lionel Messi's solo riposte came four minutes later, as he raced up the right flank, beating defender Welington and goalkeeper Idriss Kameni. Messi has scored in the last 13 games he has started. A minute later captain Carles Puyol doubled Barcelona's score when he headed a lob over Kameni from a corner kick.

Before the match, Messi presented the 55,000 fans at the Camp Nou his world player of the year trophies he has earned in the last four years.

Midfielder Diego Buonanotte shot just over Pinto's crossbar in injury time for Malaga's best first-half chance following its goal.

"In the second half we were superior in every aspect; in our arrivals to the penalty area and in possession," Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini said. "The tie is open and although you can't believe you have anything resolved against Barcelona, we played a good match and now get to decide things at home."

Barcelona had beaten Malaga 3-1 in the league on Sunday.

Pellegrini refreshed his attack in the 65th by sending in Roque Santa Cruz for Javier Saviola, who as a Barcelona player from 2001-07 scored 49 goals in 123 appearances for the Catalan team.

Malaga midfielder Sebastian Fernandez volleyed a powerful shot inside the penalty area that Pinto stopped one-handed in the 71st.

Ignacio "Nacho" Monreal was sent off on a straight red card for cutting down Pedro Rodriguez as he was charging goal-wards onside and in possession of a ball that Cesc Fabregas skillfully fed him.

Ignacio Camacho scored when he connected with a free kick by Sergio "Duda" Barbosa and beat Pinto to draw the score in the 90th, ending the host's seven-game winning streak.

"Despite the sending off which left us a man down, we stood our ground well and thanks to a set-piece, we were able to draw the match," Iturra said.

Barcelona has won 27 matches, drawn two and lost two in all competitions this season.

"We played a great first half, and compared to that, the second half was not that good," Pinto said.

Earlier, Unai Emery began his first match as coach of Sevilla with a 0-0 draw against Zaragoza also in a first-leg quarterfinal.

The match was evenly matched. The first chance went to Sevilla when striker Alvaro Negredo skillfully controlled an overhead pass and shot just wide in the 30th. Three minutes later Negredo tried to lob goalkeeper Leo Franco but the move was ruled offside.

Zaragoza's first chance came in the 35th but midfielder Antonio Galdeano shot over the crossbar.

Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop had to save Helder Postiga's free kick with a punch out in the 61st, and stop a long kick from the Portugal striker eight minutes later.

Pedro Rodriguez Nacho Monreal (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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