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Spain - Copa del Rey
Copa del Rey
February 12, 2014
• Estadio Municipal de Anoeta, Donostia-San Sebastián
Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
• Attendance: 28153
A. Griezmann 87'
Barcelona win Aggregate 3 - 1
L. Messi 27'
It's been a pleasure folks, bye for now.
Barcelona will face Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey final, in a repeat of the 2011 showpiece, and their fourth final appearance in the last six years. Messi's first half goal killed off the tie, and it was a very much a training exercise before Griezmann's quality consolation late on. Sociedad cannot claim to deserve anything more than what they got, but now, all eyes are eagerly on April 19 in the calender, when El Clasico will take place once again in the cup final.
90' + 3'
It's all over. Full time.
90' + 2'
Into the second of three added minutes, and there's a belated round of cheering and chanting from the Sociedad faithful. The men on the pitch for the Basque side have not done right by their fans throughout this tie, that's for sure.
90' + 1'
The sixth and final sub is made, and it's Busquets departing late on for Bartra.
Fabtegas picks up a silly booking for barging into Canales right near the sets of benches on the touchline. Careless from the midfielder, and really not needed at this stage of the game.
Yellow Card Cesc Fàbregas
Where was this quality during the rest of the tie! A glimpse of what Sociedad are capable of, but it's too little too late for their progression hopes. They may yet get the draw on the night though.
Assist Chory Castro
Goal Antoine Griezmann
Fantastic goal from the hosts! Canales' crossfield pass finds Castro just onside down the left, and he squares a pass to Griezmann, who sneaks inside the area and smashes a fabulous finish into the far side of the goal! No chance for Pinto!
GRIEZMANN PULLS ONE BACK!
Messi drives forward centrally and slides a ball wide to Fabregas. The former Arsenal skipper clips one into the box and nearly sees it deflected in for a Barca second!
There's a fairly promising free kick near the corner of the box, and Messi has taken charge of it, but he cannot beat the man on the edge of the wall, who deflects the ball out for a corner.
Like Sanchez before him, Canales makes an instant impression off the bench, raking a great diagonal pass through to Griezmann, who is within inches of poking home at the far post were it not for a good stop from Pinto!
Last change afoot for the home side, as Xabi Prieto is swapped out for Canales. A largely ineffective game for the midfielder.
Sanchez clearly wants to make his mark in his limited time on the field, and he darts off on another intelligent off the ball run, taking Iniesta's pass in stride, cutting past one defender but struggling to keep his balance to poke the ball around Zubikarai.
Immediately, Sanchez makes a run off the ball and is nearly put through by Busquets' through ball, but the pass is telegraphed too easily and Zubikarai is once again off his line in a flash to mop up the ball ahead of the Chilean.
Another change for the visitors now, as Pedro, efficient if not overly dynamic out wide, is replaced by Sanchez.
Alves has acres of turf to gallop into down the right flank, and makes up the ground quickly. He lays off the ball to Messi on the top of the box, continues his run diagonally, and latches onto the Argentine's superb return pass. The finish is on, but Zubikarai is off his line quickly to parry!
Pique is struggling here after a heavy collision, and is holding his hip, grimacing in some pain. As indifferent as his form has been in the last year, Barca really cannot afford to lose his services for any extended period of time with the business end of the season still to come.
Xabi Prieto accepts a flick on from Griezmann, and spotting Vela making a run between Pique and Mascherano, clips the ball in the direction of his teammate. The former Arsenal man attempts - and completely misses - an overhead kick, and is embarrassed further when the referee calls a foul against him for a high boot.
Messi gets the ball at the top of the box and, drawing two defenders, releases the unmarked Pedro down the left hand side. The forward has space to dig out a cross and options to pick out, but he flashes one too close to goal that is still very nearly turned home by a Sociedad leg!
Gaztanaga, on a yellow card, is replaced by Elustondo for the final stretch.
Gorka Gorka Elustondo Urkiola
Still, there are a few more gaps appearing in the Sociedad ranks as the second half has worn on. Barca could have another goal on the board if they really want it, but the Blaugrana players seem more interested in conserving energy and making Sociedad chase the ball around.
On comes Song and Xavi departs for Barca's first swap of the night. Solid game for the veteran midfielder who never really had to overexert himself.
A very intricate buildup from Barca is rather stymied by some lethargic play from Messi of all people. The ball was worked to him on the right side of the box, and there was space for him to cut onto his left and shoot. He instead elects to feed Alves on the overlap, who does not have enough of a gap to properly pick out Fabregas centrally.
Messi, struggling for balance, manages to square a pass wide for Alves. The Brazilian pings a first time cross into Pedro on the penalty spot, but there's too much juice behind that pass, and Pedro understandably struggles to control it on the turn.
Seferovic has been replaced by Chory Castro, in Sociedad's first change of the match. A very disappointing game from the striker, who could really have used a goal to boost his confidence.
NOW THEN! Vela clips a fantastic ball over the top for Griezmann after winning possession on the halfway line! The Sociedad winger strides forward with Mascherano hot on his heels, and a combination between the Argentine and Pinto is enough to put him off a shot, or a cross to the waiting Seferovic.
Zurutuza had also earlier been booked for challenging Messi on a loose ball - the yellow card was reported late apparently.
Zubikarai pulls off a SPLENDID double save! His defence had fallen asleep, allowing Messi to run through on goal and have two bites of the cherry with his finish! But the Sociedad keeper parries the first effort, and smothers the rebound!
Yellow Card Zurutuza
Vela collects the ball on the right hand side, and cutting onto his left foot, he bends a MAGNIFICENT effort towards the top corner from the edge of the box, that has Pinto beaten but rattles the crossbar! Superlative technique and desperately unlucky for the Mexican!
Gaztanaga enters the book for clattering right into Pedro. Careless challenge borne completely out of frustration.
Yellow Card Jon Gaztañaga
Iniesta takes a tumble in the box after ghosting in on a diagonal run to latch onto Messi's reverse pass. The referee has a quick look at the scene of the supposed crime and elects, again, to award play on. Replays suggest that he was spot on with the decision as well.
Really lethargic beginning to the second half here. It's been looking like a training exercise since the referee started the game. You can't really blame Barca with the game already all but won, as they have much tougher tests to come. But Sociedad should at least give their fans something to cheer, they've been shockingly bad all game.
Messi's goal has taken him onto 335 for his Barcelona career in official competition, over 100 strikes ahead of nearest contender Cesar Rodriguez. Iniesta is also 12 games away from reaching 500 career appearances for the Blaugrana.
Here we go again. Let's hope for some exhibition football with the pressure off.
Barca did what they had to do, grabbing that crucial away goal that takes virtually all the pressure off them for the remainder of this tie. Messi of course was the one to strike, but it owed a lot to the carelessness of Angel, and a poor attempt at a save from Zubikarai. The second half looks like little more than a formality now, and we might see the likes of Song and Tello get a run out.
Indeed, that's it for the first half.
The Sociedad fans are perhaps a bit rich in whistling Pinto for perceived time wasting on a goalkick - especially considering that their team is four goals away from a result. I don't anticipate a whole lot of injury time.
Fabregas squares up to Zaldua on the left and beats the fullback all ends up. Advancing down the byeline, he seems to be certain to create or force a shot on target, but with no one teeing up for the cutback, he takes the ball a step too far and sees it robbed.
BEAUTIFUL play from the visitors, as Messi's forward ball to Iniesta is flicked first time to meet the diagonal run of Alves. The fullback promptly slots home a neat finish, but the assistant's offside flag halts the play, and replays show that the officials made the right call.
Intelligent movement from Xavi to make inroads on a poor Alba pass, and recover the ball just ahead of a pair of Sociedad players. Had the visitors gotten a hold of possession in that instance, there would have been a five on three counter attack on!
No less than four players are honed in on Messi every time he gets the ball within 40 yards of goal. It's not been vintage Barca so far, but that goal from their Argentine superstar seems to have quelled any little hopes of an upset. The visitors can afford to take their time.
Vela gets away past Alves, who misses his header, and seems primed to strike at the far post! Pinto is quick to close down the angle though, and manages to parry the Mexican's finish, from which Alves scrambles away the resulting rebound!
The referee, perhaps wisely, elects to award nothing more than the foul, and Sociedad at least keep things numerically equal in terms of the player count.
Now then - Vela has clambered all over Busquets, again in plain sight of the match official! The Barca midfielder makes a meal of it, but the referee has a decision to make having booked the Mexican moments earlier!
Yellow Card Carlos Vela
Vela joins Busquets in the book as he went in late on Jordi Alba, in full view of the referee, who pulls out the yellow card without a moment's hesitation.
Angel has to shoulder the blame for giving the ball away in the first place, as well as Zubikarai, for letting in what was an entirely saveable chance. Four goals needed by the hosts now. Is it a bridge too far already?
A slide rule pass sets the Argentine in motion from the centre circle, and he drifts into the offensive third, keeping five players at bay as he advances into the box. He bends a left footed finish towards goal that seems to be routine for Zubikarai, but the keeper only succeeds in pushing it into the back of his own net.
Yellow Card Busquets
Busquets is our first booking for bringing down Griezmann near the centre circle.
Have to say that Sociedad's early encouraging signs in attack have rather dried up in favour of their defensive diligence. I guess one might say you build from the back first, but in all honesty the hosts need to step up and take more risks in the attacking third.
There's tons of energy and hustle from the Sociedad players, whose ability to keep their defensive shape has been admirable during the opening exchanges. But we've seen this from countless teams against Barca, the question is, can they sustain it for the full 90 minutes - to say nothing of what they need to achieve at the other end of the pitch!
Xavi plays Alves in stride centrally, and with space to move into, the Brazilian cracks one at goal from 25 yards. It starts moving towards the end and Zubikarai has to react quickly to parry it! Messi was lurking for the rebound but Gonzalez gets his body in the way and clears.
It's fairly tenuous stuff out on the pitch, as the Blaugrana are finding it difficult to advance their passing game into the attacking third. Sociedad are defending stoutly so far, and when on the ball, they have broken at pace convincingly a few times.
Tonight's winner of course will face off against Real Madrid in the final. Los Blancos thrashed city rivals Atletico Madrid 5-0 on aggregate in the other semi-final, and should events proceed as expected in the Basque country, they may renew hostilities in a Clasico battle for the Copa Del Rey trophy.
Barca are attempting to establish their rhythm in the attacking third, and very nearly fashion the opener! A slick sequence frees Iniesta on the left, who cuts onto his right and bends a great ball in to the far post. Messi seems primed to dive onto that, but a FANTASTIC hooked clearance from Angel gets rid of the danger!
Good work from Mascherano, who kept stride with Seferovic's run to the near post and slid in to intercept the ball ahead of the forward! The chance was set up by a clever run from Vela, who then bent in that testing delivery!
Twice Sociedad, specifically Vela and Seferovic, have been caught offside in quick succession. The home side are trying to catch the Blaugrana defensive line high up the pitch, but so far, Pique and Co. have not faced real danger from such an approach.
Sociedad haven't scored a goal in their last three games. They lost against Atletico, before falling to tonight's opponents in the first leg of the semis, followed by a frustrating stalemate at this stadium against Levante over the weekend. They'll need at least two tonight and if Barca get one, it will take no less than four Sociedad goals to put them on top on aggregate.
Seferovic is the next Sociedad man to attempt to press the opposition into mistakes, hounding Pique into a backpass to Pinto, and rushing the keeper to make sure that any error might be punished! Again, Pinto manages to clear, but it's clear how Sociedad are set up early on.
Vela, egged on by the boisterous home crowd, closes down Pinto on the ball, and forces the keeper into an awkward first touch to take it away from the Mexican. He eventually gets it clear down the right, but it wasn't the most confident moment from Barca's backup keeper.
Early possession for the Catalans, and they have twice gotten through deep down the right hand side. First Pedro's cross cannot beat the first defender, before Dani Alves takes a more lofted route with the next delivery, but there are no takers, despite it flashing dangerously in front of the six yard area.
Here we go!
There's been some confidence emanating from the Sociedad camp about coming back from this two goal disadvantage, however. And with both sides due to meet in league play in just under two weeks, the visitors will obviously look to keep their fine record against Barca going. Expect them to attack the visitors straight away - that is, if they can get the ball.
Barcelona have not won at Sociedad in nearly eight calender years, their last triumph occuring at the end of the 2006-07 campaign. But the Blaugrana hold a comfortable 2-0 lead from the first leg at Camp Nou, and are brimming with confidence after smashing Sevilla 4-1 over the weekend to re-take the lead at the top of the table.
It's pretty much a first choice XI from Gerardo Martino, with Andres Iniesta and Pedro flanking the fit and firing again Lionel Messi in attack. The only main swap is an expected one, as Jose Pinto takes the place of Victor Valdes in goal, as he usually does for Copa matches.
Real Sociedad are missing Inigo Martinez, Dani Estrada and Estaban Granero - the former via a red card suspension and the latter two due to injury issues. An already tough ask for tonight's home side is made even more difficult.
BARCELONA: Pinto, Pique, Dani Alves, Fabregas, Xavi, Pedro, Iniesta, Mascherano, Busquets, Jordi Alba, Messi.
REAL SOCIEDAD: Zubikarai, Mikel, Griezmann, Seferovic, Xabi Prieto, Vela, Ansotegi, Zurutuza, Jose Angel, Gaztanaga, Zaldua.
Greetings everyone, and welcome to the second leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final between Real Sociedad and Barcelona. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action.
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