Barca and Real to face off in Copa del Rey final
Catalans through to meet rivals after 3-1 aggregate win over Real Sociedad
Barcelona set up another Copa del Rey final against rivals Real Madrid on Wednesday after drawing 1-1 at Real Sociedad to win their two-legged semifinal.
Real’s Antoine Griezmann scored in the waning moments to cancel out Lionel Messi’s first-half opener but the Spanish champions still reached the domestic cup final 3-1 overall.
Goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai did his part to keep Sociedad alive at the Anoeta with several key saves but the Basque club’s attack just couldn’t respond despite Carlos Vela hitting the crossbar in the 55th.
Barcelona, the record 26-time cup winners, face Madrid three years after losing to their bitter foe 1-0 in extra time in a classic final. Barcelona and Madrid go into the April 19th match having split their six previous meetings in the cup final.
“It’s a ‘clasico,’ and there’s nothing more to say,” Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said. “We were obliged to reach the final after Real Madrid ensured their place.”
The hosts constantly pressed Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto but Messi proved the difference early on. He capped his individual run at goal in the 27th minute by unleashing a shot between three defenders that Zubikarai got a touch to but couldn’t keep from creeping over the line.
Martino said Xavi Hernandez’s second-half substitution was because of a knock that he hoped would not become an injury.
“The fact that these players reach so many finals and still value reaching another final is a great thing,” said Martino, who has already led Barcelona to the Spanish Supercup during his first season in charge.