Philippe Coutinho scored twice as Barcelona produced a brilliant comeback in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final against Sevilla, wining 6-1 to seal a last-four place.
Sevilla, beaten in the final by Barca in two of the past three years, deservedly won the first leg at home 2-0 when Ernesto Valverde’s decision to rest captain Lionel Messi backfired badly.
Messi was back in the team for Wednesday’s return at Camp Nou and he inspired a dramatic comeback that saw Ivan Rakitic and Sergi Roberto add to Coutinho’s well-taken brace before Luis Suarez and the Barca captain himself completed the rout.
Barcelona have won the Copa del Rey in each of the last four seasons and the LaLiga leaders are on track to make it five in a row after a stunning performance.
Coutinho gave Barca a 13th-minute lead when Quincy Promes’ challenge on Messi resulted in a penalty the Brazilian stroked home.
Barca were grateful to Cillessen for two big saves in close succession, as he magnificently pushed Andre Silva’s flicked backheel on to the post, then dived to his left to keep out Ever Banega’s penalty after Gerard Pique bundled over Roque Mesa.
The tie was all-square in the 31st minute when Arthur’s Xavi-esque pass sent Rakitic clear for a delicately poked finish.
Barca made it 3-0 early in the second half, Coutinho stooping to head a driven Suarez cross through Juan Soriano’s weak hands.
The capitulation from Sevilla – thrashed 5-0 by Barca in last year’s final – was seemingly when Sergi Roberto drove home Messi’s cute pass.
Sevilla got a lifeline when Arana hammered a drive past Cillessen’s grasping fingertips, although there was a VAR check before awarding the goal.
This produced a grandstand finish, as Sevilla surged forward in search of the second strike they needed to progress on away goals.
They were inevitable punished, as Suarez finished off a rapid break before Messi deservedly got on the scorsheet by finishing off another sweeping counter in stoppage time.