Manchester City FC are all but in the League Cup final after beating West Ham United FC 6-0 while Lionel Messi scored twice on his comeback on a night of ties in Spain, Italy and France.
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English League Cup
Manchester City FC are on the verge of a first League Cup final appearance since 1976 after an Álvaro Negredo hat-trick aided them to a 6-0 semi-final first-leg win at home to West Ham United FC. The London club were beaten by 5-0 by second-tier Nottingham Forest FC in the FA Cup third round on Sunday and things looked bleak from the 12th minute when Yaya Touré played Negredo through to open the scoring.
Edin Džeko set up Negredo for his second just before the half-hour and then Touré, who had earlier limped off for treatment, made it three at the break after a run from halfway. Negredo's treble was complete in the 49th minute after a David Silva shot was blocked following a corner. Džeko added the fifth on the hour and another late on. The second leg is 21 January, the day before Sunderland AFC take a 2-1 lead to Manchester United FC. The Wembley final is on 2 March.
Copa del Rey
Lionel Messi struck twice on his comeback from a hamstring injury as FC Barcelona overcame Getafe CF 4-0 in the first leg of their Spanish Cup round of 16 tie. Cesc Fàbregas scored early to put Barcelona in front at Camp Nou and converted a penalty on 63 minutes, but the cheers were just as big seconds later when Messi came on for his first game since 10 November. In the last three minutes Messi then produced two typically emphatic finishes. The return is a week on Thursday.
Segunda División strugglers AD Alcorcón beat RCD Espanyol 1-0 at home to give themselves a chance of an upset next Wednesday. With the draw already made, Alcorcón have hope of a tie against Real Madrid CF, who welcome CA Osasuna as the remaining first legs are played tomorrow. Real Betis Balompié prevailed 1-0 against visitors Athletic Club; the eventual winners next Wednesday face either holders Club Atlético de Madrid or Valencia CF, who drew 1-1 in their first leg on Tuesday.
Ten-man UD Almería were held 1-1 at third-tier Real Racing Club thanks to an equaliser from a survivor of the Santander club's last top-flight spell in 2011/12, Mamadou Koné. The second leg is one of two played next Tuesday along with Atlético against Valencia.
ACF Fiorentina defeated AC Chievo Verona 2-0 in Florence to move into the Italian Cup quarter-finals. Joaquín and Ante Rebić scored in the first half before Verona's hopes faded further midway through the second period when Gennaro Sardo was sent off, followed late on – also for a pair of yellow cards – by Fiorentina's Massimo Ambrosini.
Fiorentina, who like the rest of last season's Serie A top eight were entering the cup in the round of 16, now have a date later this month with Calcio Catania or Serie B side AC Siena, who meet next Wednesday. Before that, on Thursday, Udinese Calcio take on FC Internazionale Milano while last term's beaten finalists AS Roma play UC Sampdoria for the right to play Juventus, who beat AS Avellino 1912, 3-0, on 18 December to begin the round of 16.
A first-half hat-trick from Zlatan Ibrahimović ensured Paris Saint-Germain won their postponed round of 64 tie at Stade Brestois 29 by a 5-2 scoreline. Paris now meet Montpellier Hérault SC in the tenth round on 21/22 January while in the other French Cup game played tonight, fourth-tier Jura Sud Foot overcame Ligue 2 US Créteil-Lusitanos 1-0 to earn a tie at FC Sète, one of three fifth-level clubs remaining in the competition.
One last 64 tie remains to be played next Tuesday when AS Cannes host AS Saint-Étienne for the right to tackle fourth-division Stade Plabennécois. Tonight St-Étienne were in Ligue 1 action, beating Évian Thonon Gaillard FC 1-0 at home through a Romain Hamouma goal to move up to fourth.