Barcelona set up King's Cup semi-final with Real Madrid
Barcelona broke a rare two-game winless streak by outgunning Malaga to reach its sixth semifinal in seven years with a 6-4 victory on aggregate.
At 2-2, the game was heading for extra time when Andres Iniesta combined with Cesc Fabregas to score in the 76th minute. Messi then headed Barcelona's fourth and his 40th goal of the season just four minutes later.
"We knew it would be difficult coming in here in need of a win,'' said Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, who also scored for the visitors. "The result is fair, even though they played a great game. Now we have the luxury of playing a semifinal against Real Madrid.''
This will be the third straight year that Barcelona and Madrid meet in the Copa. Madrid beat Barcelona in the 2011 final, while Barcelona knocked Madrid out of the quarterfinals last season on its way to claiming a record 26th cup title.
Earlier, Atletico Madrid eliminated Real Betis 3-1 on aggregate to reach the other semifinal with Sevilla.
The first half was electric at La Rosaleda stadium. Both teams pressed aggressively and attacked in waves, and the poor pitch only added extra drama with players constantly slipping and sliding on the thin grass.
Barcelona struck first
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