MADRID, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona survived an early scare away to third tier side, Cartagena in the Copa del Rey knockout competition before going on to secure a comfortable first leg win, which should at least calm the waters after successive defeats.
After losing to Ajax in the Champions League and Athletic Club Bilbao in the Primera Liga, Barcelona rested Neymar, who started on the subs' bench, while Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta were left back home, although coach Tata Martino fielded a strong starting 11 against a side two divisions below them.
However, Barca were stunned after 16 minutes when Cartagena striker Fernando Rodriguez got in behind their defense to score with a diagonal shot.
It was an end to end game, but Barca were creating more chances and Pedro Rodriguez equalized after being set up by Cesc Fabrigas after 37 minutes.
Cesc then put Barca ahead before the break with a volley from an Adriano cross.
Pedro scored his second of the night with 15 minutes remaining after taking a pass from Alexis Sanchez and then running into space to finish calmly and the icing on the cake was provide by young substitute Jean Dongou in the last minute of the game.
Betis coach Juan Carlos Garrido won his first game in charge since replacing Pepe Mel, who was sacked earlier in the week. His side won 2-1 away to third tier side Lleida thanks to goals from Juan Verdu and Jordi Molina, against a rival who had to play for 80 minutes with a man less after having their goalkeeper, Pau Torres sent off.
Real Sociedad are favorites to progress from their tie against Algeciras, but still have work to do after a 1-1 draw in the south west of Spain.
Antoine Griezmann put the top flight side ahead just ahead of the hour, but they were pegged back soon afterwards by home striker, Jesus Alfaro.
Villarreal and Elche produced an entertaining game between two sides recently promoted to the top flight and the tie is still wide open following a 2-2 draw in Villarreal's El Madrigal Stadium.
Giovani Dos Santos put Villarreal ahead midway through the second half, but Elche fought back after the break and overturned the lead with headed goals from Sergio Pelegrin and Yiadom Boakye after 60 and 65 minutes.
Elche looked as if they were going to take back a valuable lead for the return leg, but Javier Aquino popped up in the 94th minute to snatch a draw and set up a thrilling second leg.
Sevilla won 1-0 away to Racing Santander thanks to a goal from winger Jairo, who only joined the club from Racing over the summer, in what was Jose Maria del Nido's last game as President after he was condemned to 7 years in prison for fraud on Friday.
Finally Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano drew 0-0. The remaining first leg ties will be played on Saturday and Sunday.