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Barca and Espanyol favourites for Cup final

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Madrid, Feb 12 : A Catalan derby between FC Barcelona and their city rivals Espanyol could well be on the cards following the first leg games in the semi-finals of the Spanish King's Cup knockout competition.

Barcelona Wednesday took a comfortable 3-1 lead against Villarreal thanks to goals from Leo Messi, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol, reported Xinhua.

Villarreal had momentarily drawn level at the start of the second half after Javier Trigueros cancelled out Leo Messi's opening goal for Barca with a long range shot which Barca keeper, Ter Stegen failed to deal with.

However, that goal merely served to spark Barca into life. Iniesta put Barca back in front within a minute and Pique wasted little time in making it 3-1.

The win could have been even clearer but Neymar saw his penalty saved by Villarreal keeper Sergio Arsenjo.

The second semi-final between Athletic Club Bilbao and Espanyol ended 1-1 in the San Mames Stadium.

Aritz Aduriz put Athletic ahead with a subtle chip after 11 minutes, but Victor Sanchez drilled home the equalizing goal after a defensive error 10 minutes before half time.

The woodwork denied Espanyol, who were the better side, twice after the break, but they return to Barcelona knowing a 0-0 draw in the return leg will see them into the final.

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