Messi goal helps Barca reach Cup quarters

Peter Jenson, dpa
·1-min read

Lionel Messi has returned to action with a goal as Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Messi had missed last week's last-32 win over Cornella after being sent off in the Spanish Super Cup final but, back from suspension, he helped his team recover from an early scare to beat their second division rivals.

Francisco Garcia gave the home team the lead on 62 minutes after Neto failed to deal with Alvaro Garcia's cross.

But Frenkie de Jong split the Rayo defence with a through ball and Antoine Griezmann crossed for Messi to level on 68 minutes.

Messi was involved again 11 minutes later when he played Jordi Alba down the left and the full-back crossed for Griezmann to get the winner.

Messi could have made it three in injury time but, after dribbling past two in the area, he hit the post.

Sevilla also reached the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey with a convincing 3-0 win over Valencia.

The home side wrapped up the game early with three goals in the first 37 minutes.

Luuk de Jong scored the first with a header on 19 minutes and doubled the advantage on 32 minutes from a Munir El Haddadi assist.

When Ivan Rakitic got the third with an exquisite lob, Sevilla were safely through to Friday's quarter-final draw.

Almeria defeated Osasuna on penalties to also advance.