Two predatory strikes from Samuel Eto'o helped holders FC Internazionale Milano to a 3-2 victory against Genoa CFC and a place in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, while FC Barcelona are in pole position to reach the last four of the Copa del Rey thanks to Lionel Messi's hat-trick.
Eto'o's efforts before the break put Inter in command at San Siro. Though the Grifone halved the deficit through Houssine Kharja's spot kick (54), awarded for a foul by Andrea Ranocchia on his first start since joining the Nerazzurri from Genoa at the start of the month, MacDonald Mariga restored the two-goal lead by heading in a corner.
Giuseppe Sculli's added-time effort was nothing more than consolation. In the day's other tie, Fabrizio Miccoli scored the only goal − from the penalty spot − as US Città di Palermo overcame AS Chievo Verona at home.
After showing off his FIFA Ballon d'Or award before the game, Messi was the star turn again for Barcelona as they beat Real Betis Balompié 5-0 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final tie. The hosts were made to wait until the 44th minute to take the lead, Andrés Iniesta teasing the Betis defence before slipping a pass to Messi which the Argentina striker nonchalantly flicked over Casto.
Messi rolled in another at the second attempt on 62 minutes then burst through to complete his hat-trick (73). Pedro Rodríguez made it four and Seydou Keita nodded in number five.
Sevilla FC came from 3-1 down to share the spoils at Villarreal CF in the night's other game. The Yellow Submarine surged two goals ahead inside 30 minutes with a volley from Cani and a deflected Giuseppe Rossi shot before Álvaro Negredo reduced arrears. Marco Ruben nodded Villarreal 3-1 up only for Negredo to head in on the hour and allow Alexis (88) to sweep in the equaliser.
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