Copa del Rey: Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid complete tough last-four lineup

Madrid (Spain), Jan 27 (IANS) Real Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao joined FC Barcelona in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey knockout competition after beating Atletico Madrid and Valencia in their respective quarterfinals.

Real Madrid came back from a goal down at home to Atletico after former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata finished off a swift passing move from close range, on Thursday night.

Atletico sat deep in the second half, hoping to hold on to their advantage, but a brilliant individual goal from Rodrygo in the 79th minute took the game to extra time.

Atletico were reduced to 10 men in extra time when Stefan Savic was sent off after seeing two yellow cards. Karim Benzema won the tie in the 103rd minute when he followed up at the far post to slide home a cross from Marcos Asensio.

Vinicius Jr scored Real Madrid’s third goal in the last minute after he was allowed to progress through the Atletico defense virtually unchallenged.

Earlier in the evening, Athletic Club qualified for the semifinal in four years with a 3-1 win away to Valencia.

After controlling Valencia’s start in front of their home fans for half an hour, Athletic opened the scoring in the 35th minute when Iker Muniain fired home Inaki Williams’ knockdown.

An own goal from Oscar de Marcos, who put the ball into his own net under pressure at the far post, drew Valencia level in the 44th minute, but Inaki Williams turned provider again for his younger brother, Nico, to put Athletic back in front before halftime, reports news agency Xinhua.

That goal left Valencia groggy and Athletic controlled the second half, extending their lead from the penalty spot in the 74th minute from Mikel Vesga after the VAR spotted a foul on Nico Williams.

On Wednesday, FC Barcelona qualified for the semifinals thanks to a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad, with Ousmane Dembele scoring an impressive second-half goal.

Real Sociedad played for over half of the game with 10 men after midfielder Brais Mendez was sent off for a high tackle.

In Wednesday’s second quarterfinal, Osasuna beat Sevilla 2-1 after extra time. It looked as if Chimy Avila’s 71st-minute goal would see Osasuna through, but Youssef En-Nesyri levelled for Sevilla in the fifth minute of injury time to force an extra half hour.

The match was decided by a solo goal by on-loan winger Ez Abde, who turned the Sevilla defense and beat keeper Bono at the near post.



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