Thursday, Oct 02, 2014

Real Madrid, Barcelona on course for Cup final showdown

Real Madrid Real Madrid's Jese Rodriguez celebrates his goal during their Spanish King's Cup semi-final first leg soccer match against Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid February 5, 2014. REUTERS
Reuters | Madrid & Rome | Posted: February 7, 2014 1:35 am | Updated: February 7, 2014 2:51 pm

Real Madrid took a huge step towards reaching the Copa del Rey final as they beat local rivals and holders Atletico Madrid 3-0 thanks to two own goals in their semi-final, first leg. Barcelona look set to meet their historical rivals in the final as they took a 2-0 first leg advantage over Real Sociedad in the other semi-final at the Camp Nou Wednesday.

Atletico had beaten Real at the Santiago Bernabeu in last year’s final, but the hosts quickly set about making amends as Emiliano Insua deflected Pepe’s effort into his own net after just 17 minutes. Jese Rodriguez, who was only starting because of Gareth Bale’s late withdrawal from the squad due to a calf injury, doubled Real’s advantage with a low finish from Angel di Maria’s pass just before the hour mark.

Di Maria was involved again as Real all but secured their place in the final when his deflected strike 17 minutes from time was credited as another own goal by Atletico defender Miranda. Defeat ends a 24-game unbeaten run for Atletico and they will need a remarkable fightback to retain their title in the second leg at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday.

Barcelona had luck on their side as Enaut Zubikarai’s own goal added to Sergio Busquets’ opener handed them a comfortable win over 10-man Sociedad. Lionel Messi’s drought without a goal from open play extended to five games, but he was extremely unlucky not to give his side the lead with a wonderful free-kick that came back off the underside of the bar.

Jose Manuel Pinto then prevented Barca from going behind as he saved Carlos Vela’s effort. That stop was to prove vital as a minute later Busquets bundled home the opener and Inigo Martinez received a straight red card for taking his protests too far. Even with Sociedad a man down, Barca had to rely on a slice of luck as Gorka Elustondo smashed an intended clearance off his own goalkeeper Zubikarai and into the net.

Thriller at the Olimpico

Two goals from in-form Gervinho, including the winner two minutes from time, gave AS Roma a thrilling 3-2 victory in their Italian Cup semi-final first leg against Napoli at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday. The Ivorian’s goals helped Roma to their sixth straight win and handed Rudi Garcia’s side a slender lead to take into next week’s second leg after visiting Napoli had rallied to level from 2-0 down.

A comical Morgan De Sanctis own goal just after the break and a smart Dries Mertens strike saw Rafael Benitez’s gritty side fight back after Gervinho and a rocket shot by Kevin Strootman had put the home team on top at halftime.

A superb long-range strike by Luis Muriel eight minutes from time gave Udinese a 2-1 win over Fiorentina in the first leg of their semifinal on Tuesday.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,086 other followers