Barca to meet Real in final
SEMI-FINAL, SECOND LEG
REAL SOCIEDAD 1
(Antoine Griezmann 87)
(Lionel Messi 27)
● Barcelona win 3-1 on aggregate
Barcelona will face Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final on April 19, after they drew 1-1 away to Real Sociedad yesterday morning to progress 3-1 on aggregate.
Lionel Messi continued his return to goalscoring form after netting twice against Sevilla last Sunday, with a fine solo run and finish to put Barca in front midway through the first half.
The hosts were then thankful to a number of saves from Enaut Zubikarai to prevent Barcelona from extending their lead on the night, but the Basques got an equaliser three minutes from time when Antoine Griezmann thumped Chory Castro's low cross past Jose Manuel Pinto.
Barca boss Gerardo Martino was happy to have reached his first major final since taking charge at the start of the season, but said it was far too early to judge who will be favourites to lift the trophy come April.
"There were three objectives this year and we have managed to make the final in one of them. Now we have to try and win it, but we have complied with the demands until now," he said.
"It is a long way away, it is a Clasico, so it always has special importance. Madrid winning last night made it even more important for us not to miss this special date.
"But it is hard to make a judgment because the final is still two months away.
"There are loads of important games between now and then for both teams and we don't know how both sides will get there in terms of form, confidence or injuries."
Barcelona may have been well short of their best since Christmas, but they remain alive in all competitions and can look forward to welcoming back Brazilian forward Neymar to reinforce their frontline against Rayo Vallecano in La Liga this weekend.
It has been a good week for the Catalan club, who returned to the top of the table with a victory over Sevilla before setting up a Copa del Rey final against bitter rivals Real Madrid after overcoming Real Sociedad.
The back-to-back wins are good news for a Barca side that have stumbled over the last month and a half, when they have won only three out of six matches in the league and crashed 3-2 at home to Valencia in their last fixture.
- Wire Services.