Madrid, Dec 13 (IANS) Lionel Messi was again the star of the show as FC Barcelona all but assured their place in the last 16 of the Spanish Copa del Rey knockout competition.
The Argentinean's two goals Wednesday night were his 87th and 88th goal of the year and end any doubt whether or not he is the player who has scored most goals in a 12-month period as well as assuring a 2-0 win away to second division side Cordoba in the first leg of their cup tie, reports Xinhua.
Barcelona are almost assured of progressing to the next phase given that the next leg will be played in their Camp Nou Stadium in the new year.
If Barca fulfill expectations they will play either Malaga or third tier (Segunda B) side Eibar, who assured a place in the last 16 with a 1-1 draw away to Athletic Club Bilbao.
Sevilla also virtually booked a place in the quarterfinals thanks to a 5-0 win away to Mallorca. Mallorca's crushing defeat came thanks to a dreadful display on the back of 12 games without a win in all competition and coach Joaquin Caparros is under pressure of losing his job.
Real Madrid were on the ropes against Celta Vigo as Mario Bermejo and Christian Bustos gave the Galician side a 2-0 lead in their Balaidos Stadium.
However, Cristiano Ronaldo scored from a Xabi Alonso pass four minutes from time to mean a 1-0 win will see Madrid through in the return leg, although the result does little to dispel doubts about Madrid's poor away form this season.
Another setback was the ankle injury which forced Karim Benzema out, injured in the first half.
Atletico Madrid took a positive result from the first leg of their Madrid derby at home to Getafe. Deigo Costa scored twice and Felipe Luis also got on the scoresheet as Atletico continued their excellent season with a 3-0 win.