Copa del Rey set for Real-Barca final

Sergio Busquets is mobbed after breaking the deadlock against Real Sociedad in Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Story highlights

  • Real Madrid and Barcelona set to meet in Copa del Rey final
  • Real beat city rivals Atletico Madrid 3-0 in semifinal first leg
  • Barca triumph 2-0 against 10-man Real Sociedad

Barcelona and Real Madrid are on course to meet in the Copa del Rey final for only the second time in 24 years after the great rivals cruised in the opening legs of their semifinals.

Real will be the happier of the sides, having impressed against Atletico Madrid when winning 3-0 at home, so inflicting the La Liga leaders' first defeat in 25 matches.

Barca were also at home but had to settle for a modest 2-0 win against Real Sociedad even though the visitors had to play an entire half with just ten men.

Read: Atletico pay tribute to late Aragones in style

After losing to Valencia on Saturday, as their first home league defeat in nearly two years knocked them off the top of La Liga, coach Gerardo Martino had stressed the need to 'cut short' any crisis.

The hosts took the lead late in the first half through Sergio Busquets, with defender Inigo Martinez sent off immediately after, with the visitors furious that Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano had avoided both a potential red card and the concession of a penalty when hauling back Carlos Vela moments earlier.

Barca's Rosell resigns over Neymar deal
Sandro Rosell has resigned as Barcelona president after three-and-a-half years in charge at the Spanish champions.


    Barca's Rosell resigns over Neymar deal


Barca's Rosell resigns over Neymar deal 01:52

Barcelona's second came courtesy of a bizarre own goal as defender Gorka Elustondo's attempted clearance thumped into the chest of goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai before crossing the line.

David Beckham bringing MLS team to Miami
David Beckham bringing MLS team to Miami


    David Beckham bringing MLS team to Miami


David Beckham bringing MLS team to Miami 01:05
Champagne: Football has lost credibility
Champagne: Football has lost credibility


    Champagne: Football has lost credibility


Champagne: Football has lost credibility 01:59
Cristiano Ronaldo: A star like no other
Cristiano Ronaldo: A star like no other


    Cristiano Ronaldo: A star like no other


Cristiano Ronaldo: A star like no other 02:46
Robbie Rogers: Gay slurs 'scarred me'
Robbie Rogers: Gay slurs 'scarred me'


    Robbie Rogers: Gay slurs 'scarred me'


Robbie Rogers: Gay slurs 'scarred me' 02:34

However, Barcelona's former assistant coach Henk Ten Cate, who worked at the club under Frank Rijkaard between 2003-2006, was far from impressed.

Read: Shock home defeat worries Barca boss

"That was the worst Barcelona display I have seen in the last six years," the Dutchman told British television channel Sky Sports.

"Barcelona needs a new team, as this is not a Barca that can compete with the best in Europe."

Cate's comments come a fortnight before the four-time European champions take on English Premier League side Manchester City in the Last 16 of the Champions League.

They also come in the wake of last month's resignation of president Sandro Rosell, who stepped down because of a legal wrangle over the transfer of Neymar last June.

Read: Rosell quits Barcelona

Barca fans also seemed to be voting with their feet, as the crowd of 38,000 was the club's second lowest this season.

Meanwhile Real Madrid, who take on Germans Schalke in the Champions League later this month, won a hotly contested Madrid derby thanks to goals from Pepe, Jese and Angel Di Maria.

"My wish is to have a team like the one that played tonight," enthused Real's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti.

A perfect scoreline was added to when Atletico striker Diego Costa, with 20 league goals this season, earned the booking that ruled him out of next week's return leg.

The suspension compounded a miserable night for the 25-year-old who was victimized by Real defensive duo Pepe and Alvaro Arbeloa.

"We tried but we just couldn't find a way tonight," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said afterwards.

Atletico won last season's Copa del Rey after beating Real 2-1 in a final which was also littered with cynical fouls and gamesmaship.

After meeting in the 1990 final, Real and Barca have contested the Copa del Rey decider just once -- when Jose Mourinho's Madrid won 1-0 in 2011 thanks to an extra-time winner from Cristiano Ronaldo.

The following year, it was Barcelona's turn to get their hands on the trophy as they beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0.

This year's final is set to take place on April 19.

In Italy, a double from Gervinho, including a winner just two minutes from time, gave Roma a 3-2 victory over Napoli in the first leg of their Italian Cup semifinal.

The in-form Ivorian's goals gave Roma their sixth straight win and frustrated a Napoli side that had managed to level the scores despite trailing 2-0 after 32 minutes.

      Football Focus

    • French football great bids adieu

      After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
    • Mario's 'Queen' tweet tops 2014 list

      He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
    • bpr south african soccor senzo meyiwa death _00000402.jpg

      Loss of a South African 'icon'

      Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
    • German alleged jihadist Kreshnik B (R) listens to his lawyer Mutlu Guenal (L) as he arrives at the higher regional court in Frankfurt. His face is pixelated for legal reasons.

      From Jewish football to ISIS suspect

      Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
    • Where has 'Super' Mario gone?

      One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
    • Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

      Should rapist return to work?

      Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
    • Teen, 15, makes Euro history

      Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.