Spanish King's Cup: Barcelona-Real Madrid Final on the Cards

Madrid, Jan 27 (DPA): A Barcelona-Real Madrid final in the Spanish King's Cup is on the cards after Wednesday's semi-final first-leg clashes.

Barca despatched Almeria 5-0 at home, and Real won 1-0 at holders Sevilla. The second legs will be played Feb 2.

The big two have not met in the final since 1990 - a 1-0 win for Barca - and Real have not won the cup since 1993.

Barca continued their sumptuous league form by tearing into Almeria from the start. FIFA World Player Lionel Messi began the rout after nine minutes with a bouncing left-foot shot that veteran Almeria keeper Esteban made a mess of.

The shaky Esteban was again at fault just two minutes later, when David Villa made it 2-0 with a right-foot shot that the keeper should have done better with.

The one-way traffic continued, and Messi made it 3-0 in the 16th minute with a curling left-foot drive which, this time, gave Estaban no chance at all.

Almeria had chances of their own in an open first half, but Barca winger Pedro - the smallest man on the field - headed in the fourth goal in the 31st minute after a cleverly worked free-kick from Xavi.

Understandably, Barca eased off in the second half, secure in the knowledge that they had already done enough to earn their place in the April 20 final. Even so, super-sub Seyfou Keita made it 5-0 two minutes from time, after taking a perfect pass from Messi.

A Barca-Real final "is not yet a fact because neither tie has yet finished", Keita pointed out. "We played well again tonight, and again we really enjoyed ourselves on the field."

Earlier Wednesday, Real Madrid had battled out a 1-0 win at dull Sevilla in a tense, disjointed game.

The only goal in the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan was a handsome solo strike from Karim Benzema. The French forward took a short pass in midfield from Mesut Oezil, powered his way past defender Alexis, skipped inside Julien Escude and scored with a precise, left-foot shot.

It was Benzema's best goal since joining Real in 2009 from Lyon, and will help his attempt to keep his place ahead of new signing Emmanuel Adebayor.

Real assistant coach Aitor Karanka said: "It was a difficult game. The result is not definitive, and we will need to play well again next Wednesday in order to reach the final."

Sevilla are the cup holders but will now need to win in the Estadio Bernabeu, something that no visiting team has managed to do this season.

Real coach Jose Mourinho suffocated Sevilla with a cautious 4-4-2 lineup, with Sevilla wingers Jesus Navas and Diego Perotti well under control.

Just before half-time, Real defender Raul Albiol had to clear a shot from Sevilla's Luis Fabiano off the goal-line, with Sevilla claiming the ball had crossed the line. This was the only clear chance the hosts created.

Xabi Alonso went close to making it 2-0 for the visitors with an adventurous long shot, and Ricardo Carvalho had a header well saved by Sevilla's veteran keeper Andres Palop.


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Title: Spanish King's Cup: Barcelona-Real Madrid Final on the Cards

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