Barcelona out of King's Cup
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Barcelona out of King's Cup

Spanish champions and Primera Liga leaders Barcelona were knocked out of the

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 15:44 IST

Spanish champions and Primera Liga leaders Barcelona were knocked out of the King's Cup despite claiming a 2-1 victory over Real Zaragoza at the Nou Camp.

Zaragoza's emphatic 4-2 victory in the first leg was enough to earn them a 5-4 aggregate victory over the Catalans, who were reduced to 10 men late in the first half after the sending off of Ronaldinho.

Victor Munoz's side now face a semi-final showdown against Real Madrid, the team they beat in the final two years ago.

Deportivo Coruna joined Zaragoza in the last four after a 1-1 draw at Valencia gave them a 2-1 aggregate victory in their resumed quarter-final tie which was played behind closed doors at the Mestalla.

Deportivo midfielder Victor's 70th minute penalty cancelled out David Villa's strike in last week's abandoned game and ensured the Galicians of a place in the semis.

Barcelona faced an uphill task at the Nou Camp, but they wasted no time pushing forward.

Argentine teenager Lionel Messi grazed the far post with a low drive in the eighth minute after he had been put clear by Ronaldinho and midfielder Deco went close with a rasping free kick.

Mexican midfielder Rafael Marquez then had a powerful header cleared off the line by centre-back Diego Milito. But the Catalans' ambitious game plan meant they were living dangerously at the back.

Reserve keeper Albert Jorquera pulled off a fantastic reflex save to turn a thundering shot from midfielder Cani over the bar just before the half hour and produced another great stop to block a point-blank header from Ewerthon.

Barca's hopes of turning round the tie took a heavy blow when Ronaldinho was controversially given a straight red card for a challenge on Cani, sparking an angry response from the home fans.

But the incident only served to breathe new life into Frank Rijkaard's side and four minutes later Messi put them 1-0 up on the night when he headed in Ludovic Giuly's cross.

Still needing another goal, Barca continued to pour forward after the break and midfielder Andres Iniesta hit the base of the post early on.

Their hopes of a comeback were extinguished, however, when Zaragoza midfielder Oscar found himself in space on the left and curled a swirling shot past Jorquera. Henrik Larsson's stoppage-time goal mattered little.

Depor and Valencia finished the last 46 minutes of their quarter-final behind closed doors at the Mestalla after last week's game had been abandoned when a linesman was hit on the head by an object thrown from the crowd.

The match kicked off for one minute before stopping for a five-minute halftime break and then resumed in normal fashion.

Valencia took the game to Depor despite being a man light after defender Carlos Marchena was sent off eight minutes into the first half of last week's match.

But the visitors were awarded a penalty in the 70th minute after Depor striker Senel was pulled back by David Albelda.

First Published: Feb 02, 2006 15:44 IST