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Ronaldo double sinks Barca and sends Real Madrid into Spanish Cup final

February 26, 2013 -- Updated 2234 GMT (0634 HKT)
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his penalty against Barcelona in the Spanish Cup semifinal
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his penalty against Barcelona in the Spanish Cup semifinal
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Real Madrid beat rivals Barcelona 3-1 in second leg of their Spanish Cup semifinal
  • Cristiano Ronaldo's double helps Jose Mourinho's side triumph 4-2 on aggregate
  • Mourinho's reign to be defined by Spanish Cup and Champions League campaigns
  • Real and Barcelona to meet in another El Clasico in the league on Saturday

(CNN) -- It is the eight day period that will define the reign of Jose Mourinho, coach of Spanish giants Real Madrid.

And it got off to the perfect start as the Portuguese manager led his side to a crucial 3-1 victory at archrivals Barcelona to seal a place in the Spanish Cup final -- one of only two trophies left for the club to win.

Now, after another meeting with Barcelona on Saturday in the league, Mourinho will turn his thoughts to the second leg of their last 16 European Champions League tie against English Premier League leaders Manchester United which arrives next week. The sides drew 1-1 in the first leg.

Real trail Barca by 14 points in the league, meaning retaining their title is surely beyond them, but with Mourinho seemingly destined to leave the club at the end of the season his tenure will only be deemed a success should he complete a cup double before May is out.

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That prospect will only have increased after this emphatic victory in the Camp Nou.

Barcelona are dominant in the league but seem to be faltering without their manager Tito Vilanova who has been absent since the beginning of February while he has treatment for throat cancer in New York.

They were beaten 2-0 by AC Milan in their Champions League last 16 first leg tie, an encounter in which their star striker Lionel Messi had one of his quietest games on record for the club. He was again nullified as Real cruised to a 4-2 aggregate victory.

Real got off to the perfect start when their star striker Cristiano Ronaldo won a penalty after a challenge from Gerard Pique on 13 minutes. The Portuguese picked himself off the floor to slam the spot kick into the net.

Cesc Fabregas claimed a penalty as Barca looked to level the tie but the referee waved away his appeals before Andres Iniesta cut in from the right and fired wide of the target.

Barcelona's best chance of the half came when Alvaro Arbeloa brought down Iniesta on the edge of the penalty area. Messi stepped up to take the free kick but though the ball beat the wall it flashed a foot wide of the post.

Sergio Busquets forced Real goalkeeper Diego Lopez into his first save of the match with a shot from the edge of the area that took a deflection off Germany international Sami Khedira.

But Ronaldo struck a decisive second just before the hour mark. A long ball downfield saw Angel Di Maria beat Barca captain Carles Puyol and though his shot was saved by Pinto, Ronaldo was on hand to tuck home his 16th goal in 19 cup games for Real.

It got worse for Barca as Real's young French centre half Raphael Varane rose unchecked from a corner to head home a third goal that truly knocked the stuffing out of the home side.

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Jordi Alba grabbed a late consolation goal for Barcelona but by that time many of the 90,000 fans had made their way to the exits.

Real will face either city rivals Atletico Madrid or Sevilla in the final. Atletico take a 2-1 first leg lead to Sevilla on Wednesday night.

In the English FA Cup, Premier League outfit Everton breezed past third tier Oldham Atheltic in their fifth round replay.

Oldham, who eliminated Everton's Merseyside rivals Liverpool in round four, earned a replay with an injury-time equaliser in the original tie but couldn't spring another surprise at Goodison Park, losing 3-1.

First half goals from Kevin Mirallas and England international Leighton Baines put Everton in control before Leon Osman made it 3-0 on the hour mark. Matt Smith grabbed a consolation for Oldham.

In Italy, Fiorentina missed the chance to go level on points with AC Milan in fourth as an 84th minute goal from Lazaros Christodoulopoulos handed Bologna a 2-1 win.

In the German Cup, VfL Wolfsburg and SC Freiburg progressed to the semifinals after victories over OFC Kickers 1901 and Mainz respectively.

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