FC Barcelona remain on course to complete the Spanish domestic double after goals from Thierry Henry and Rafael Márquez gave them a 2-0 victory in the home first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final with Mallorca.
Barcelona, 12 points clear in the Liga, have been waiting since 1997/98 to become the first club to win the Copa del Rey for the 25th time, having that season emulated their doubles of 1951/52, 1952/53 and 1958/59. Favourites to defeat the Liga’s bottom club, Barcelona were on top from the start at Camp Nou and broke the deadlock on 35 minutes when Henry turned in a cross from Bojan Krkić.
Lionel Messi was introduced during the second half for Henry but it was Márquez who doubled the lead 17 minutes from time with a curling free-kick. The return in Mallorca is scheduled for the first week of March, when in the other semi-final Sevilla will take a 2-1 lead to Athletic Club Bilbao, who are only one cup success behind Barcelona on 23.