Athletic Club Bilbao will face FC Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final after a busy night of knockout action throughout Europe. Holders Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain FC were both knocked out of the French Cup, PSG by a third-tier side, while FC Bayern München's grip on the German Cup was ended by Bayer 04 Leverkusen, UC Sampdoria moved closer to the Coppa Italia final and Olympiacos CFP had as happy a night as Panathinaikos FC a disappointing one.
Barcelona travelled to RCD Mallorca 2-0 up but were in trouble when Gonzalo Castro struck just before the break and early in the second half the same player was fouled in the box by Martín Cáceres, who was sent off. However, José Luis Martí's penalty was blocked by the legs of José Pinto and on 65 minutes Mallorca lost Josemi to a red card. Substitute Lionel Messi ensured Barcelona's progress with nine minutes left. Athletic are through to their first Copa del Rey final for 24 years after a 3-0 defeat of Sevilla FC ensured a 4-2 aggregate victory. Having lost the away leg 2-1, Athletic were soon in control of the tie. Javi Martinez struck after four minutes, Fernando Llorente headed the second just past the half-hour and then set up Gaizka Toquero to seal the tie before the break to the delight of the 47,000-capacity San Mamés crowd.
Lyon and PSG, the top two in Ligue 1 and last season's French Cup finalists, were knocked out in dramatic style tonight. LOSC Lille Métropole twice lost the lead against holders Lyon before Nicolas Fauvergue's last-gasp strike ensured a 3-2 win and a quarter-final place. PSG were ousted by third division strugglers Rodez AF 3-1 after extra-time goals from Jérémy Choplin, who had also equalised just past the hour, and Miguel Pacios. Joining Rodez in the last eight on Wednesday were AS Monaco FC, 2-0 winners at AC Ajaccio, Stade Rennais FC with a 3-0 defeat of FC Lorient and Ligue 2 side CS Sedan-Ardennes, who beat AS Vitré by the same score. Ligue 2 EA Guingamp and top-flight duo Toulouse FC and Grenoble Foot 38 were already through.
Bayern lost their grip on the German Cup with a 4-2 quarter-final loss at Levekusen. Second-half goals from Tranquillo Barnetta, Arturo Vidal and Patrick Helmes had made it 3-0 with 20 minutes left and although Lucio and Miroslav Klose quickly put Bayern back in the game, Stefan Kiessling had the final word in injury time. Werder Bremen put their indifferent league form behind them with a 5-2 win at VfL Wolfsburg while Hamburger SV were made to work for a 2-1 victory against second division side SV Wehen Wiesbaden. On Tuesday, second-tier 1. FSV Mainz 05 defeated FC Schalke 04 1-0 to reach their first semi-final.
UC Sampdoria made a giant step towards the Coppa Italia final with a 3-0 win in the home leg of their last-hour tie against Serie A leaders FC Internazionale Milano. Sampdoria, keen to bounce back from their UEFA Cup elimination by FC Metalist Kharkiv last week, went ahead on nine minutes when Antonio Cassano dispossessed Nelson Rivas and beat Francesco Toldo with a nice chip. Giampaolo Pazzini's close-range header made it two on the half-hour and he struck ahead just before the break after Toldo parried a Marco Padalino effort. Sampdoria defender Daniele Gastaldello was sent off on the hour but saves by Luca Castellazzi kept out Victor Obinna, Hernán Crespo and Adriano to ensure a healthy lead for the second leg on 22 April. S.S. Lazio came from behind to defeat Juventus 2-1 in Tuesday's game.
Olympiacos remain on course for a second straight Greek double after overturning a first-leg deficit to pip PAOK FC to the semi-finals with Matt Derbyshire's extra-time header for a 2-1 aggregate win. PAOK, second in the league but nine points behind Olympiacos, led 1-0 from their home match but Diogo Luis Santo levelled the tie just past the hour and the visitors lost Pablo Contreras and Vladimir Ivić to red cards before the 90 minutes. Asteras Tripolis FC will meet Olympiacos in their maiden semi-final after a second 1-0 defeat of Panionios GSS. Panserraikos FC withstood a late Panathinaikos fightback to also reach the last four for the first time with a 3-2 win following a goalless first leg, and they now play AEK Athens FC.
Five days after their crucial 4-2 league win against Sivasspor, Fenerbahçe SK repeated the trick to win the first leg of their Turkish Cup semi-final 3-1 at the Şükrü Saraçoğlu stadium. Deniz Barış broke the deadlock in the 66th minute and substitute Edu doubled the lead by touching in Daniel Güiza's flick. Fabio Bilica pulled one back with a 30-metre free-kick eight minutes from time but Güiza set up Deivid to restore the two-goal cushion for the return on 22 April. Beşiktaş JK won 3-1 at Ankaraspor AŞ on Tuesday in the other first leg.
FC Twente reached the semi-finals in dramatic style as Marko Arnautović's goal in the added minute of extra time gave them a 1-0 win against De Graafschap. In tonight's other quarter-final, SC Heerenveen defeated NEC Nijmegen 3-1 with late goals from Swedish winter signings Patrik Ingelsten and Viktor Elm, while on Thursday 2007/08 runners-up Roda JC play FC Volendam and AZ Alkmaar meet NAC Breda.
Cercle Brugge KSV edged to a 2-1 win at home to KV Mechelen in the first leg of their semi-final. Honour Gombami struck just past the hour and Stijn De Smet doubled the lead with 15 minutes left but Björn Vleminckx's header gave Mechelen hope for the 22 April home return. KRC Genk and K. Lierse SK drew 2-2 on Tuesday.
HNK Hajduk Split kept up their bid for the Croatian double with a 4-1 defeat of HNK Cibalia in the first leg of their semi-final. Hajduk have stormed to the top of the league with victories against arch-rivals NK Dinamo Zagreb and NK Inter Zaprešić since the winter break. New signing Marin Tomasov set up tonight's win with his first Hajduk goal. Dinamo also moved closer to a potential final with Hajduk as they won 2-0 at neighbours NK Zagreb with Ilija Sivonjić, like Tomasov a winter mover from NK Zadar, also on target.
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