BARCELONA, Spain -- Barcelona let slip an early 2-0 lead before struggling past 10-man Real Betis 4-2 in the Spanish league on Sunday after Lionel Messi scored his 32nd and 33rd goals of the season. Three days before the Copa del Rey clash against Real Madrid, Pep Guardiolas team appeared set to cruise to another home victory after Xavi Hernandez and Messi gave the hosts a two-goal lead after just 12 minutes. But Ruben Castro scored the first goal by a visitor at Camp Nou stadium in the league this season, and strike partner Roque Santa Cruz made it 2-2 in the 52nd. Barcelona wasnt able to regain control until Mario Alvarez left Betis a man down with his second booking in the 70th. Having set up two goals, Alexis Sanchez then scored the winner before Messi added a late penalty. The Catalan giants ninth win in 10 home games still leaves it five points behind leader Madrid in the league standings. "Betis wanted the ball and played a good game," Xavi said. "Their game plan was fantastic. We saw an wide-open game with chances for both sides, but in the end we showed the mettle necessary to pull it out." Madrid hosts Barcelona on Wednesday in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. The two legs will take the number of "clasico" matches to nine in nine months. Barcelona has been dominant, with Madrids one win coming in the Copa final last season. Elsewhere on Sunday, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone won on his home debut as his new team beat Villarreal 3-0 thanks to Radamel Falcaos double. Falcao broke through for a dominant Atletico in the 40th minute, and then scored his 11th league goal from the penalty spot in the 51st after he was fouled in the area. Diego capped the win in the 80th. Also, it was: Osasuna 0, Racing Santander 2; Athletic Bilbao 3, Levante 0; and Sporting Gijon 2, Malaga 1. Madrid came from behind to beat Mallorca 2-1 on Saturday, while third-place Valencia fell 1-0 at home to Real Sociedad. Also on Saturday, it was: Zaragoza 1, Getafe 1; Sevilla 0, Espanyol 0; and Granada 1, Rayo Vallecano 2. Guardiola said he didnt think his teams shaky showing Sunday would influence the match at the Santiago Bernabeu. "The fact is that we figured out how to win and played a great last half hour," Guardiola said. "There are things that we have to improve, but it is a different competition and a different rival. We will look to rest and then go play the best game we can." Barcelona paraded Lionel Messis third Ballon DOr award and its recently won Club World Cup trophy with its fans before the game. Betis, however, was undeterred by their hosts impressive home record and went out looking to take the game to the European champions. Following Espanyols example from its 1-1 draw last weekend, Betis played an attacking game to try and beat the best attacking side in the world. The promoted sides dare soon cost it dearly with Xavi celebrating his 400th league appearance by scoring. The goal came from Cesc Fabregas rebound off the post after Alexis had played the former Arsenal captain into the area. The Chile international also set up Barcelonas second goal two minutes later when he lofted in a cross for the charging Messi to redirect into the back of the net. Yet whereas most of Barcelonas rivals would have rolled over, Betis continued to attack in waves while its pressure succeeded in short-circuiting Barcelonas passing game. The strategy paid off in the 32nd when Castro turned Salva Sevillas pass beyond goalkeeper Victor Valdes to halve Betis deficit. Before that goal, Barcelona had outscored its league opponents at home 41-0. Betis kept attacking after halftime, and Santa Cruz levelled with a precision shot from outside the area after catching Barcelona off-balance on the break. "Keeping in mind that nobody had scored here and that we had options to win when we were 11 against 11, well, we have to be proud," Betis coach Pepe Mel said after his team had lost for the first time in four matches. Barcelona finally reacted and claimed possession of the ball yet failed to break through Betis disciplined defence until it had an extra man following Marios exit. Alexis marked his strong overall performance with a hard blast from the right edge of the box in the 75th that goalkeeper Casto Espinosa got a touch on but couldnt keep out of his net. "(Alexis) allowed us to stretch the pitch, he is a very fast player," Guardiola said. "I have to congratulate him because he helped us a lot." Messi scored from the penalty spot in the 86th after Jose Dorado had been penalized for handling in the area. Wholesale Soccer Jerseys china
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. After the game, the 7-foot-2 centre was much more interested in talking about Indianas defence than his big offensive night.SINGAPORE -- Paula Creamer sank a 75-foot eagle putt on the second playoff hole against Azahara Munoz to win the HSBC Womens Champions on Sunday for her first LPGA title since the 2010 U.S. Womens Open. Creamers putt curled across the 18th green and then rolled slowly down the slope and directly into the hole. She ran across the green, then fell to her knees and put her head on the ground, laughing and pounding the grass. "Its one of those putts where if you just get it in the right spot, its going to fall down," she said. "But I could stand there all day long and putt that and I dont think get it within six, seven feet." Creamer and Munoz finished 72 holes tied at 10-under 278, one stroke ahead of Karrie Webb, who led after every round but bogeyed three of her last six holes to give up a three-shot lead and finish third. Creamer captured eight titles early in her career before getting her breakthrough win at a major at the U.S. Womens Open. After that title, though, Creamer found it tough to win again. She came close on a number of occasions, only to fall short every time. Two years ago, she lost an LPGA record nine-hole playoff against Jiyai Shin at the Kingsmill Championship. She was also third here in Singapore last year and finished in a tie for third twice to start this season. "I just was struggling. I was enjoying what I was doing, but I wasnt loving it," she said. "My expectations were way too high." In December, Creamer got engaged to Derek Heath, which she said put some of her past difficulties in perspective. Then came Sundays victory against one of the toughest fields outside the majors, featuring 19 of the top 20 ranked players. "It might be one of my favourite wins. ... Its been almost three years and so much has happened," she said. "Holding that trophy, gosh, it was so nice." For much of the day, it appeared aas if Webb, not Creamer, would take the trophy home.dddddddddddd But after avoiding trouble on a tricky Serapong course at Sentosa Golf Club for much of the week, the veteran Australian stumbled late. First, Webbs three-foot par putt on the 13th caught the edge of the hole and curled away. Then she hooked her tee shot left on the 15th, grimacing as it dropped into the water. She settled for bogey on both. She came undone on the 18th when another errant tee shot ended up in a bunker. She took a big swing at the ball and it hit the lip of the bunker, plopping back down into the sand to lead to another bogey. "Im a bit in my head right now," Webb said after the round. "Just not a lot of good decisions." Creamer and Munoz, meanwhile, were steady in the closing holes. Creamer, who trailed Webb by four strokes at the start of the day, made a difficult 12-footer for birdie on the 15th to pull even with Webb at 10 under. Then, after hitting into the bunker herself on No. 18, she recovered to save par and headed to the clubhouse to wait for Munoz to finish. The Spaniard, who had trailed by five strokes early in the round, came out of nowhere to join the leaders by sinking a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th. She had a chance to win it on the 18th but pulled her birdie putt wide. Webb wasnt the only one who had a disappointing day. Defending champion Stacy Lewis saw her streak of 13 consecutive top-10 finishes broken with her joint-40th place. She had been closing in on Webbs LPGA record of 16 straight top-10 finishes, set in 1998-99. "I played terrible all week," she said. "I didnt hit the ball well or make any putts." World No. 1 Inbee Park shot a 68 to finish in joint fourth place at 7-under 281 with No. 2 Suzann Pettersen, So Yeon Ryu, Angela Stanford and Morgan Pressel. Michelle Wie and Teresa Lu were two strokes back in a tie for ninth. ' ' '