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27.02.2008 23:50

Ton up for Messi

Jordi Clos

Lionel Messi made his 100th official appearance for FC Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi final against Valencia on Wednesday and was outstanding as he created several clear chances for the home team in Camp Nou.

Despite being only 20 years go age, the Argentinian international has already reached a ton of games for the Blaugrana. Lining up alongside Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry, Messi was a constant menace for the Valencia defence and only some superb saves by goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand prevented him from adding his name to the scoresheet.

Hildebrand stands out

In fact, Valencia's German custodian was the key reason why Barça had to settle for a draw as he made ten saves. The hosts enjoyed 71 per cent possession and put the ball into the opposition area on 47 occasions. The only time that Hildebrand could not stop a shot was when Xavi found the smallest gap to steer home the equaliser in the 94th minute. It was the midfielder's fourth goal in the last six matches.

Koeman misses out again

Xavi's goal meant that Ronald Koeman failed to win at Camp Nou in his second attempt as a coach. The first game came when he was in charge of Benfica in the 2005-06 campaign when Barça won 2-0 en route to the Champions League final.
Ton up for Messi
Celtic victorious
Barcelona's Champions League opponents Celtic also played on Wednesday evening in the Scottish Premier League. Gordon Strachan's side defeated Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2-1 thanks to goals from McDonald (45) and Samaras (65), before Nicuale (70) pulled a goal back for the opposition. Despite the win, the Bhoys remain four points behind arch rivals Rangers at the top as they won 4-0 at Hearts.

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