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Manu Fernandez, Associated Press
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, from Argentina, left, scores a penalty against Betis during the Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012.

BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona let slip a two-goal lead before struggling to beat 10-man Real Betis 4-2 on Sunday, three days before the Copa del Rey clash against Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola's team appeared set to cruise to another home victory after Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi put the hosts ahead 2-0 after just 12 minutes.

But Ruben Castro scored the first goal by a visitor at Camp Nou stadium in the league this season, and Roque Santa Cruz made it 2-2 in the 52nd.

Barcelona wasn't able to regain control until Mario Alvarez left Betis a man down with his second booking in the 79th.

Alexis Sanchez then scored the winning goal before Messi added a late penalty.