Barca win to set up semifinal with Real Madrid

Madrid, Jan 25 (IANS) FC Barcelona set up a Copa del Rey semifinal tie against bitter rivals Real Madrid when they won the return leg of their quarterfinal against Malaga 4-2.

Real Madrid beat Valencia 3-1 on aggregate following a 1-1 Wednesday and the two sides will play the first leg of their tie next Wednesday as the result of a thrilling cup game in which Malaga lived up to their status as one of the best sides in Spain this season, reports Xinhua.

Barca, who needed a goal in order to qualify after the 2-2 draw from the first leg, played their strongest side and opened the scoring after just eight minutes thanks to Pedro Rodriguez.

That goal momentarily qualified Barca but Joaquin Sanchez levelled the score just four minutes later to delight the fans in a packed La Rosaleda Stadium.

The game was a proper cup-tie with both sides exchanging attacks but it was Gerard Pique, who has just become a father after the birth of his son with pop-singer Shakira, put the visitors back in front after controlling the ball on his front and firing past Malaga keeper Carlos Kameni five minutes into the second half.

Roque Santa Cruz then hit back for Malaga after a fine flowing move started by Seba Fernandez, which saw the ball move the length and width of the pitch following a frustrated Barca attack.

It looked as if extra time was on the cards but a lovely combination between Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta saw Iniesta score Barca's third with a low shot 15 minutes later.

Leo Messi got his name on the score-sheet with 10 minutes left to kill off any chance Malaga had of a fightback. Next week Spain can prepare for another 'El Clasico'.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid will face Sevilla in the other semifinal after a 1-1 draw away to Betis, which gave them a 3-1 aggregate win on the back of their 2-0 triumph in the Vicente Calderon Stadium a week ago.

Diego Costa, in the side for the injured Radamel Falcao, justified his position as the first replacement for the substitute with a goal on the stroke of halftime to give his side a 3-0 aggregate lead and leave Betis needing four goals to qualify.

The home side didn't score until the last minute when Jorge Molina netted from the penalty spot but by then it was far too late.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »