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Barça repel Madrid comeback to reach semi-finals

Published: Wednesday 25 January 2012, 23.59CET
Real Madrid CF came from two goals down to level at Camp Nou but FC Barcelona held firm for a 4-3 aggregate victory and a place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
Barça repel Madrid comeback to reach semi-finals
Daniel Alves is mobbed after putting Barcelona 2-0 up on the night against Real Madrid ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 25 January 2012, 23.59CET

Barça repel Madrid comeback to reach semi-finals

Real Madrid CF came from two goals down to level at Camp Nou but FC Barcelona held firm for a 4-3 aggregate victory and a place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

FC Barcelona held off a spirited comeback by Real Madrid CF to draw 2-2 at Camp Nou and reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals via a 4-3 aggregate victory.

The Merengues had chances to turn the tie early on following their 2-1 reverse at the Santiago Bernabéu but the European champions instead took a two-goal lead into the interval through Pedro Rodríguez and Daniel Alves. However, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema hauled José Mourinho's men level on the night only for the crucial third goal to elude them.

Gonzalo Higuaín spurned two glorious opportunities in the opening three minutes as he dragged a shot wide after ten seconds when clean through on José Pinto, then forced a superb save from the custodian after helping Xabi Alonso's free-kick towards goal. Mesut Özil went closer still as he rattled the bar from 30 metres before the Catalan club sparked into life.

Pedro, who replaced the injured Andrés Iniesta on the half-hour, finished confidently after a jinking run and incisive pass from Lionel Messi on 42 minutes, before Daniel Alves hammered in a sensational second on the stroke of half-time from a half-cleared free-kick.

Madrid's race looked run until Özil slipped in Ronaldo to round Pinto and score midway through the second period, and the comeback was undoubtedly on when Benzema wrong-footed Carles Puyol to fire in after 72 minutes. However, the visitors had Sergio Ramos dismissed and the Blaugrana held on to earn a semi-final meeting against Valencia CF or Levante UD.

Athletic Club progressed from the evening's other tie after completing a 3-0 aggregate victory at RCD Mallorca. Two goals up from their home leg, Athletic confirmed a last-four meeting with surprise package CD Mirandés when Iván Ramis's back pass bobbled over the foot of goalkeeper Juan Calatayud with 14 minutes remaining.

Last updated: 26/01/12 11.30CET

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