London, January 12:

Louis Saha and Morten Gamst Pedersen traded goals five minutes apart in the first half and Manchester United and Blackburn drew 1-1 in first-leg semi-final of the English League Cup.

Saha gave Manchester United the lead in the 30th minute, beating goalkeeper Brad Friedel with a low shot.

Rovers tied the match five minutes later on a 15-yard strike from Pedersen. Manchester fielded a nearly full-strength team, attempting to end a run in which it has drawn three of its last four matches.

The match nearly exploded late in the first half when Manchester United’s Alan Smith lunged into the back of Robbie Savage with a reckless tackle.

Both benches emptied as referee Rob Styles was knocked to the ground in the incident. Smith, Wayne Rooney and Savage were booked on the play.

Copa del Rey

MADRID: FC Barcelona won a Spanish record 16th straight game, trouncing third-division Zamora 6-0 in a second-leg of the Copa del Rey’s fifth round. Since a 3-3 draw with Deportivo La Coruna on October 15, Barcelona has won 11 league games, three in the European Champions League and two in the Copa del Rey to surpass Real Madrid’s streak set in the 1960-61.

Henrik Larsson scored twice, and Santi Ezquerro, Thiago Motta, Mark van Bommel and Maxi Lopez added a goal apiece to send Barca into the quarter-finals on a 9-1 aggregate score.

Others to advance to the last eight were Betis, Valencia, Deportivo La Coruna, Espanyol and Cadiz. Betis improved its chances of retaining the trophy by squeezing through on away goals after a 0-0 draw with Celta Vigo. The teams drew 1-1 last week.

Valencia edged Villarreal 1-0 to advance 3-0 on aggregate. Deportivo lost 2-1 on its visit to Osasuna, but advanced on a 4-2 aggregate.

Espanyol advanced by drawing with visiting Getafe 3-3 and winning with a 4-3 aggregate score. Cadiz held on for a goalless draw at Sevilla and advanced on a 3-2 aggregate score.

Italian Cup

ROME: AS Roma beat third-division Napoli 2-1 behind closed doors to advance to the Italian Cup quarter-finals and a matchup with Juventus. Roma advanced on 5-1 aggregate.

AC Milan, Sampdoria and Udinese also advanced. AC Milan beat Brescia 4-3 following a 3-1 first-leg win. Milan next will meet Palermo.

Francesco Flachi scored twice for Sampdoria in a 2-1 win over Cagliari following a 1-1 draw in the opening leg. Sampdoria advances to play Udinese, which beat second-division Atalanta 3-1 and advanced on 3-2 aggregate.