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Copa del Rey: Messi leads Barcelona rout over Leganes

Barcelona, January 31: Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona hammered Leganes 5-0 on Thursday (January 30) to advance to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey and deliver a much-needed boost for new coach Quique Setien. Messi’s double, as well as goals from Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet and Arthur Melo rounded off an emphatic win at Camp Nou, where Barca successfully bounced back from Saturday’s surprise La Liga loss away at Valencia.

Powered by Rubicon Project “We did a lot of things well but I am not completely happy because we also lost control of the game in the latter stages of the first half,” said Setien. Defeat at Mestalla allowed Real Madrid to pull three points clear at the top of the league and put early pressure on Setien, who replaced Ernesto Valverde as coach earlier this month.

His appointment will be judged on performances in the league and Champions League this season but Barca have a rich recent history in the Copa del Rey, which they have won in four of the last five years. They will be in Friday’s draw for the last eight where, despite a number of upsets, they join a familiar looking field. Real Madrid, Valencia, Real Sociedad, Granada, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao are already through, with Sevilla to face Mirandes later on Thursday.

A home tie in the last 16 against La Liga’s bottom club always looked a kind route back to winning ways for Setien’s side, whose next four league fixtures now include Levante, Getafe and Eibar, all at home, as well as a trip to Real Betis. Victories in those games would give Setien momentum but performances will be important too given his arrival was as much about changing Barcelona’s style as their results. After a ponderous display against Valencia, they outclassed Leganes, who pressed high from the start, despite early indications suggesting this Barcelona team might struggle more against opponents that sit deep.

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