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Football

Barcelona bounce back against Sevilla

With goals from Villa and Messi, La Liga runaway leaders Barcelona fightback from a goal down to defeat Sevilla.
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2013 23:20
Messi added another goal to the long, long list ahead of King's Cup semi-final clash with Real [AP]

Lionel Messi helped Barcelona shake off the hangover from their midweek defeat by AC Milan as the leaders rallied to a 2-1 win at home to fellow King's Cup semi-finalists Sevilla in La Liga on Saturday.

Barca were stunned 2-0 away in a Champions League last 16 first leg on Wednesday and Sevilla played a similar gameplan to the Italians, denying the hosts space and breaking to take the lead just before halftime.

David Villa and World Player of the Year Messi completed the second-half comeback to leave Barca top with 68 points from 25 games, 15 ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who host Espanyol on Sunday.

Real Madrid are third with 52 points after also having to come from behind to beat bottom side Deportivo La Coruna 2-1 with late goals from Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain.

Both Real and Barca, who meet in a Cup semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp on Tuesday, with the tie level at 1-1, struggled as they fielded weakened sides to rest key players.

Sevilla, who need to overturn a 2-1 deficit in their semi-final at home to Atletico on Wednesday, had also rested players but struck against the run of play when Alberto Botia rose above Dani Alves to nod past Victor Valdes in the 42nd minute.

Barca improved in the second period and Alves crossed for Villa to head the equaliser in the 52nd.

A slick passing move led to Cristian Tello feeding Messi in the area and the Argentine slotted away his 38th league goal of the season on the hour.

Sevilla had chances to equalise as Barca wobbled near the end with substitute Alvaro Negredo blazing a good chance over the bar late on.

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