Barcelona looks to Messi to overturn Cup deficit

21:32, January 12, 2010      

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File photo shows FIFA Men's World Player of the Year 2009 nominee Lionel Messi of Argentina attends a press conference before the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich December 21, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Barcelona will look to Leo Messi to be its inspiration as the Catalans look to overturn last week's home defeat to Sevilla and progress to the quarterfinals of Spain's Copa del Rey.

The shock 2-1 defeat in the Camp Nou Stadium means that reigning Champion, Barca has to score at least twice in the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Coach Pep Guardiola played a combined side of first team fringe players and youngsters last week, but looks likely to put out a much stronger 11 this time around.

Leo Messi scored a hat-trick as Barcelona defeated Tenerife 5-0away from home on Sunday night. Those three goals have made him joint highest scorer in Spain, along with David Villa, with 12 goals to his name.

Guardiola needs that firepower in the Pizjuan and is expected to pair Messi with Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Pedro Rodriguez, neither of whom played 90 minutes on Sunday.

Xabi Hernandez will start in midfield along with Sergi Busquets and Andres Iniesta, while Dani Alves will return to his former club at right back.

Sevilla meanwhile has slipped into crisis despite that win a week ago. Manolo Jimenez' s team lost 2-1 at home to Racing Santander on Saturday and was booed off the pitch.

More importantly Sevilla is now fifth in the BBVA Primera Liga table and the coach's position is starting to be questioned again. A heavy defeat could see Jimenez lose his job, but he is still hindered by the injury to Luis Fabiano and Sebastian Squilachi, the loss of Freddy Kanoute and Didier Zokora to the African Nations Cup and the poor form of Alvaro Negredo.

Elsewhere on Wednesday night Osasuna looks to overturn a 2-1 deficit at home to Hercules, Racing Santander defends a 3-2 advantage at home to Alcorcon, while Getafe needs a goal after losing 2-1 away to Malaga a week ago.

Finally Valencia faces a similar task to Barcelona after falling 2-1 at home to Deportivo la Coruna last week.

The winner of that tie will face either Barcelona or Sevilla in the last eight.

Source: Xinhua
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