Barca knocked out


MADRID, January 14- Barcelona lost the first of the three titles they won in an extraordinary 2008/09 season on Wednesday as despite beating Sevilla 1-0 they went out of the Kings Cup on the away goal rule when the last 16 tie finished 2-2 on aggregate.
Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola – who guided Barca to the Cup, league title and Champions League trophy in an amazing debut season as coach – did not take the match lightly playing essentially his first choice team against a side whose league form has fallen away alarmingly having lost their last three matches.

However, it was the hosts who turned on the early pressure with first midfielder Koffi Romaric – who was controversially left out of the Ivory Coast African Cup of Nations squad – powering a header which was punched away by Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto.

Sevilla – who last won the Cup in 2007 – had the ball in the net in the 20th minute but striker Alvaro Negredo was somewhat harshly adjudged to have impeded Pinto.

This woke up Barcelona and they poured forward desperate to get back on terms in the tie.

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic unleashed a fierce shot in the 28th minute only for the ball to go narrowly wide and then saw his 52nd minute header saved by Sevilla goalkeeper and club captain Andres Palop.

The pressure told off eventually in the 64th minute when Spanish international midfielder Xavi’s right foot shot beat Palop leaving Barcelona tantalisingly close to reaching the quarter-finals.

Argentinian wizard Lionel Messi then took over the show going close in the 67th minute as his effort scraped the post, then hitting the post with a left footed shot in the 69th minute and then seeing a shot brilliantly turned round the post by Palop five minutes from time.