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Big names enjoy cup assignments

Published: Wednesday 26 January 2011, 23.50CET
It was a good night for UEFA Champions League round of 16 contenders Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, AC Milan, FC Internazionale Milano and FC Bayern München on domestic cup duty.
Big names enjoy cup assignments
Lionel Messi was once again at the fore of Barcelona's performance ©Getty Images

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Published: Wednesday 26 January 2011, 23.50CET

Big names enjoy cup assignments

It was a good night for UEFA Champions League round of 16 contenders Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, AC Milan, FC Internazionale Milano and FC Bayern München on domestic cup duty.

Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona have their sights set on the Copa del Rey final, while AC Milan and FC Internazionale Milano are closing in on the Coppa Italia decider.

Liga pacesetters Barcelona and Madrid established first-leg leads in their semi-final ties. Madrid are 1-0 to the good thanks to Karim Benzema's superb solo effort against Sevilla FC, while Barça have one foot in the showpiece having defeated UD Almería 5-0. Lionel Messi added two to his ever-increasing season tally inside 16 minutes, with David Villa finding the net inbetween. Pedro Rodríguez increased the lead on 31 minutes, while Seydou Keita added a late fifth.

The Coppa Italia was equally short on surprises, Milan beating UC Sampdoria 2-1 to book a last-four meeting with US Città di Palermo. The Serie A leaders went in front through Pato's 17th-minute volley and doubled their advantage soon after, the Brazil forward turning sharply before stroking high into the net. Stefano Guberti's second-half header merely halved Sampdoria's arrears.

Inter's path proved far more troublesome, the holders drawing a blank for 120 minutes against SSC Napoli. Leonardo's team eventually prevailed 5-4 in the ensuing penalty shoot-out, Ezequiel Lavezzi the only one to miss from the spot. The Nerazzurri will face the winners of Thursday's match between Juventus and AS Roma in the semi-finals.

Upsets were more commonplace in the German Cup quarter-finals. Second-tier MSV Duisburg and FC Energie Cottbus are in the last four after prevailing against Bundesliga opponents, winning 2-0 and 1-0 against 1. FC Kaiserslautern and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim respectively. Holders FC Bayern München bucked the trend, eliminating TSV Alemannia Aachen 4-0. Mario Gomez opened the scoring with his 24th goal in his last 20 appearances for club and country.

Last updated: 27/01/11 0.02CET
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