Barcelona set up an El Clasico final in the Copa del Rey despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Real Sociedad in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday. Barça held a 2-0 lead from the first leg and never looked in real trouble of giving that up as they moved into a final against Real Madrid who beat city rivals Atletico on Tuesday.
Lionel Messi scored the only goal for the visitors with Antoine Griezmann grabbing an equaliser with three minutes to go. Barça made by far the brighter start and Dani Alves created the first chance as he flashed a cross across the six-yard box but no Barcelona boot could get on the end of it.
The Catalans nearly had the lead after 15 minutes as some good work from Andres Iniesta saw a teasing cross heading towards Messi at the back post but Jose Angel managed to hook away the danger. Sociedad were clearly trying to frustrate Barça but Gerardo Martino’s men were the only side that looked like scoring and Xavi brought a save from Enaut Zubikarai with a stinging shot from 25 yards.
Martino was happy to have reached his first major final since taking charge at the start of the season, but said it was far too early to judge who will be favourites to lift the trophy come April.
“There were three objectives this year and we have managed to make the final in one of them. Now we have to try and win it, but we have complied with the demands until now,” he said.
“It is a long way away, it is a Clasico so it always has special importance. Madrid winning last night made it even more important for us not to miss this special date.
“But it is hard to make a judgement because the final is still two months away. There are loads of important games between now and then for both teams and we don’t know how both sides will get there in terms of form, confidence or injuries.”
The two sides last met in the final in 2011 when an extra time header from Cristiano Ronaldo gave Jose Mourinho’s side the 1-0 win in Valencia‘s Mestalla stadium. That was Mourinho’s first trophy in Madrid and the first major defeat for Pep Guardiola’s Barça.
The 2014 version will be held at the stadium and it will be almost exactly the same date. That final was played on the 20th April while this year the game is programmed for a day earlier on the 19th.