Barcelona to meet Real Madrid in Spanish cup final

Thursday, February 3, 2011

MADRID - The final of the Spanish King’s Cup will be between twin giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, as a result of Wednesday’s semi-final second-leg clashes.

Barca cruised into the final with a comfortable 3-0 win at minnows Almeria, which gave them an emphatic 8-0 aggregate, having won the home leg 5-0 Jan 26.

Real, in contrast, had to sweat and suffer to beat dull Sevilla 2- 0 at home, a result which puts them into the final on a 3-0 aggregate.

The whites needed late goals from Mesut Oezil and Emmanuel Adebayor to settle a tedious tie.

Barca and Real have not met in the final since 1990, when Barca won 2-0 in Valencia. Curiously, the final will be played on April 20 - at a venue still to be decided - just four days after the big two clash in Madrid in the league Clasico.

Barca are seven points ahead of Real atop La Liga.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola fielded a reserve-packed side for the second leg in Almeria and was rewarded with an ambitious display from a group of players keen to impress him.

Brazilian left-back Adriano opened the scoring with a handsome solo goal in the 35th minute, breaking free down the left and making it 1-0 with a low drive.

Barca’s second goal also had a Brazilian flavour. Teenage sensation Thiago - son of Brazil’s 1994 World Cup winner Mazinho - played a clever one-two with compatriot Dani Alves and made it 2-0 with a perfect, looping header.

Ten minutes later, newcomer Ibrahim Affelay completed the rout with a fierce shot, after being set up by Keydou Keita. It was the young Dutchman’s first goal for Barca.

“We are pleased because this was an important game for us. Now we have to continue working, with our feet on ground,” said Adriano.

Later Wednesday, Real had to dig deep to again beat a keen but uninspired Sevilla side.

Real are immersed in a massive internal crisis as a result of Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at lowly Osasuna, and the atmosphere in the Estadio Bernabeu was crisp with tension.

Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo had an early goal disallowed for a narrow offside. Cristiano Ronaldo, suddenly in poor form, should have given Real the lead.

The tension continued until the 82nd minute, when Oezil made it 1- 0 after being played through by fellow German international Sami Khedira.

Sevilla then had right-back Sergio Sanchez sent off for a second ugly foul. Supersub Adebayor, making his home debut, added a second in stoppage time with a handsome volley, after taking a pass from Lassana Diarra on his chest.

The only bad news for Real was a potentially serious knee injury for Khedira right at the end.

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