Fierce rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid will do battle for a place in the Copa del Rey final.

LaLiga leaders Barca and Los Blancos were on Monday drawn to meet at the semi-final stage, with the winners facing either Athletic Bilbao or Osasuna.

The Blaugrana beat Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana final in Riyadh earlier this month to secure their first trophy of head coach Xavi's reign.

There will be another two El Clasico cup clashes to look forward to, with the first leg staged at Santiago Bernabeu in the week commencing February 27 and the second match at Camp Nou in the week commencing April 3.

Carlo Ancelotti's side were 3-1 winners when the two met in LaLiga in October, but Barca have since opened up a five-point lead at the summit.

Osasuna will have home advantage in their first leg against Athletic.

The final will be stage at the Estadio de la Cartuja in Sevilla on May 6.

A defiant Diego Simeone declared "there is no greater motivation" than playing for Atletico Madrid after his side boosted their LaLiga top-four hopes with a narrow victory at Osasuna.

Head coach Simeone cast doubt over his future before the 1-0 win over Osasuna, suggesting how Atletico finish the season will dictate whether he stays in Madrid.

With Atletico out of Europe and eliminated from the Copa del Rey in midweek by Real Madrid, Saul Niguez's second-half strike at Osasuna may have somewhat eased the mounting pressure on the Colchoneros boss.

Simeone acknowledged the blow of Thursday's defeat to fierce rivals Madrid, but he says his players should need little inspiration to finish the season strong.

He said: "We have a way of thinking and the club has a way of living. Do not lower your shoulders, always go forward and get up in adverse situations. 

"We will focus on the league. There is no greater motivation than playing for Atletico. 

"We are out of the Copa and out of Europe, but we play for Atletico, and for Atletico you have to play until the last game."

Victory over Osasuna moved Atletico three points clear of Villarreal and Real Betis in fifth and sixth respectively, having played a game more, while Simeone's side trail Real Sociedad – who play Madrid on Sunday – by four.

Simeone's visitors were largely indebted to some fine goalkeeping from Jan Oblak before a calm 74th-minute finish from substitute Saul.

The Spain international has had to wait for his chance after the World Cup, but Simeone believes Saul, who Valencia are reportedly interested in signing on loan, is beginning to find form.

"He has been working very well since the return of the World Cup, with good consistency," the coach said. "He is becoming more and more identified with the patterns that we are looking for. 

"It's a pity that we couldn't increase the score after with the counter-attack situations we had, because Osasuna, at home, are very strong, and the last minutes were difficult."

Saul Niguez scored the only goal of the game as Atletico Madrid responded to their Copa del Rey elimination with an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Osasuna that maintained their grip on LaLiga's top four.

Diego Simeone's side suffered a 3-1 extra-time loss to Real Madrid in the Copa quarter-finals on Thursday and were far from their best three days later at El Sadar.

Jan Oblak had to keep Osasuna at bay in the second half, before substitute Saul's calm 74th-minute finish proved the difference as Atletico recorded a much-needed triumph.

Victory moved Atletico three points clear of Villarreal and Real Betis in fifth and sixth respectively, while Simeone's side trail Real Sociedad – who play Real Madrid later on Sunday – by four.

An offside flag rendered Oblak's impressive 23rd-minute save against Chimy Avila redundant before Jose Gimenez headed over a presentable chance from Antoine Griezmann's in-swinging corner at the other end.

Aitor Fernandez repelled Griezmann from close range after a scramble inside the area, though neither side impressed during an otherwise drab first half.

Griezmann forced another smart Fernandez stop with a low drive immediately after the interval, while Avila headed David Garcia's deep right-wing cross narrowly over.

Oblak expertly denied Moi Gomez's back-post half-volley just past the hour, and that save proved pivotal when Saul raced onto Rodrigo De Paul's throughball to find the bottom-right corner and secure victory.

Diego Simeone appeared to contradict his previous remarks about his commitment to Atletico Madrid, stating that his future with the club will only become clear at the end of the season.

Atletico's defeat in the Copa del Rey to Real Madrid on Thursday effectively ended their silverware prospects for the season, with the club fourth in LaLiga, 13 points behind leaders Barcelona, and also out of Europe.

Speaking after the defeat to Los Blancos, Simeone reaffirmed his commitment to Atleti, insisting he will not walk away of his own accord yet.

However, at his press conference ahead of Atleti's LaLiga visit to Osasuna on Sunday, Simeone suggested a decision on his future will depend on how Atleti finish the season. 

Asked if he intended to continue with the club, Simeone said: "It is more complex than what you suggest. They [the club] will find out when the season ends what will happen.

"My contract depends a lot on how we finish the season. Every season finale we get together to see how we continue. This year will not be the exception."

Atleti have failed to win any of their past three league games on the road, after winning seven of the previous eight such games in the competition.

Given that poor run of form, they could perhaps not have asked for a better opponent to face on Sunday as they bid to get their season back on track.

Atleti have been victorious on their past four visits to Osasuna, scoring at least three goals in each of those wins.

Despite the quick turnaround after Thursday's defeat, Simeone has no doubt his players will be in good shape for the clash at El Sadar Stadium.

"We do it as a way of life," he added. "When one gives everything like the other day, you stay peaceful. You do what you have to do. It is the way of understanding life. I am at peace and have the tranquillity of doing a great job.

"Now it's a game against a rival who will be excited, with a very good coach, always competitive, always complex, with positive energy."

Real Madrid and bitter rivals Atletico Madrid will duel for a place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals after being paired in the last eight.

Los Blancos survived a scare on Thursday as they came from 2-0 down at Villarreal to win 3-2 thanks to goals from Vinicius Junior, Eder Militao and Dani Ceballos.

It ensured Carlo Ancelotti's team bounced back from losing to Barcelona in the Supercopa de Espana final four days earlier.

Nevertheless, their route does not get any easier with Thursday's draw pitting them against city rivals Atletico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Diego Simeone's side beat Levante 2-0 in Valencia on Wednesday, with Alvaro Morata and Marcos Llorente scoring in the second half.

It will be the first time Atletico and Madrid have tussled in the Copa since January 2015, when the former emerged 4-2 aggregate winners over two legs.

The competition remains on track for a Clasico final, though Barca will also have to get past tricky opponents to reach the last four.

Real Sociedad, who have won each of their past eight games in all competitions and are third in LaLiga, will visit Camp Nou.

La Real have a dreadful record away to Barcelona, however, last winning there in LaLiga way back in 1991.

The other two quarter-finals are also all-LaLiga affairs.

Last season's beaten finalists Valencia will meet Athletic Bilbao at the Mestalla Stadium, while Osasuna – conquerors of defending champions Real Betis – play host to a Sevilla side who are battling relegation in the league.

The matches are scheduled across Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week.

 

Copa del Rey quarter-final draw in full:

Barcelona v Real Sociedad

Osasuna v Sevilla

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid

Valencia v Athletic Bilbao

Real Betis head coach Manuel Pellegrini lamented another penalty shoot-out defeat as their Copa del Rey defence ended at the hands of Osasuna in the round of 16 on Wednesday.

Betis and Osasuna finished 1-1 after normal time with David Garcia netting a 90th-minute goal for the visitors to level after William Carvalho's 62nd-minute opener.

The hosts went up again in extra-time from Youssouf Sabaly but it ended 2-2 with Ruben Garcia equalising, before the visitors won 4-2 on penalties, with Sergio Canales and Guido Rodriguez spurning their spotkicks.

That defeat comes a week after Betis' 4-2 shoot-out loss to Barcelona after a 2-2 draw in the Supercopa semi-final in Riyadh. It also ends Los Verdiblancos' Copa del Rey defence.

"It has been a very tough week due to the cup elimination against Barcelona on penalties, where we were also superior in the 90 minutes, as has happened to us against Osasuna," Pellegrini told reporters.

"At the last minute, for not clearing a ball they tied us, after being superior for 90 minutes. We have to continue competing although it has been a very hard week and we must compose ourselves."

Osasuna converted all four of their penalties, like Barcelona did a week ago, although Pellegrini had no issue with goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

"Things happen in football," he said. "You don't have to reproach him for anything from penalty shootouts.

"The one who shoots has more options to put it in than the goalkeeper to clear it. It's not the goalkeeper's problem."

Pellegrini conceded the defeat hurt, with Betis now to focus on LaLiga, where they are sixth, along with the Europa League, where they are in the round of 16.

"It's a mental and physical blow," the Chilean said. "We've lost two competitions on penalties.

"We have to keep looking forward. We have to keep fighting for the league and we also have the Europa League."

Barcelona plan to lodge an appeal after the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) issued Robert Lewandowski with a three-match ban following his red card against Osasuna.

Lewandowski was shown two yellow cards in the first half of Barca's 2-1 win at El Sadar last Tuesday, in which goals from Pedri and Raphinha helped Xavi's men to a comeback victory.

On Wednesday, it was reported the RFEF had given Lewandowski an extended three-match suspension after accusing him of berating referee Gil Manzano following his dismissal.

That would rule Lewandowski, who is LaLiga's top scorer with 13 goals this campaign, out of the Blaugrana's fixtures against Espanyol, Atletico Madrid and Real Betis after the World Cup, but his club will attempt to overturn the ruling.

A club statement read: "FC Barcelona will put their case to the Appeals Committee in view of the three-game ban handed out to Robert Lewandowski by the Disciplinary Committee. 

"The Polish striker received the suspension after being sent off for a second bookable offence in the 2-1 win over Osasuna in Pamplona in LaLiga."

Lewandowski is currently preparing to represent Poland at his second World Cup, with Czeslaw Michniewicz's team set to begin their Group C campaign against Mexico on Tuesday.

Xavi has revealed he was planning to call on Gerard Pique from the bench, had the retiring defender not seen red at half-time in Barcelona's clash with Osasuna.

Pique's glittering career ended on a low note on Tuesday, with the 35-year-old receiving his marching orders from referee Jesus Gil Manzano without even leaving the bench.

With Barca 1-0 down and a man down at half-time, having seen star striker Robert Lewandowski sent off, substitute Pique was shown a red card for dissent during the interval.

After an emotional send-off at Camp Nou at the weekend, an eighth LaLiga dismissal brought an end to his career.

Xavi was hoping to rely on his former team-mate, but instead had to struggle through with a makeshift backline after Andreas Christensen went off midway through the second half, with youngster Chadi Riad coming on as a late substitute.

"I was going to use Gerard," Xavi said at his post-match press conference. 

"We knew that Chad was going to come in, Andreas was struggling with an injury. Eric [García] had some discomfort in the warm-up, and we were forced to not have him start. 

"We did think about bringing in Gerard, but he was sent off at half-time when things got tense."

Even with their defensive issues and numerical disadvantage, Barca came away with a 2-1 win that saw them move five points clear of Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga, with Raphinha netting a late winner.

"We felt that wasn’t just, we felt they were against us and that’s why we reacted so strongly," Xavi said. 

"We celebrated this win as if everything was against us. The goal we conceded was a foul, then Lewandowski was sent off.

"All the decisions by the referee went against us and we thought we grabbed a win in a game we might tie."

Barcelona coach Xavi said he was proud of his team for overcoming several "unfair" decisions after they recovered from Robert Lewandowski's red card to clinch a dramatic 2-1 win at Osasuna.

Things looked bleak for Barca when they went into half-time a goal and a man down at El Sadar, with David Garcia heading Osasuna into the lead amid a potential foul on Marcos Alonso, before Lewandowski picked up a second booking for a poor challenge on the goalscorer.

Things went from bad to worse at the break as Gerard Pique – who was named on the bench for his final match before retirement – received a red card for dissent without even entering the fray.

However, goals from Pedri and Raphinha saw Barca stage a stirring second-half comeback to go five points clear of Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga, leaving Xavi ecstatic.

Asked what he told his players at the break to spark the turnaround, Xavi said: "To have faith that with 10 we could dominate the match, we had to be intelligent, and our moments would come.

"It's a very good victory, one of courage, of family, and it was celebrated a lot in the locker room. It was very complicated to play with 10 and I am very proud of the team.

"We have grown. We are a family, a group, a spectacular dressing room, with the desire to win, and it shows. I am proud."

Reflecting on the display of referee Jesus Gil Manzano, Xavi said his team had been hampered by numerous poor decisions.

"We feel harmed," he said. "The first goal was not even a corner, then there was a foul and then Robert was expelled. They were very unfair decisions, but the referee decides and we can't do anything."

Raphinha's winner – a well-executed header from Frenkie de Jong's lofted pass – was the eighth goal scored by a Barcelona substitute in LaLiga this term, more than any other team.

Meanwhile, the Blaugrana's tally of 37 points after 14 games is their joint-third highest at this stage of a season in LaLiga (after claiming 40 points in 2012-13 and 2013-14), and Raphinha believes they have the fight required for a title race.

"I had to think fast," the Brazil winger said of his goal. "The goalkeeper thought I was going to control the ball and that's why he came towards me, but I knew he was going to do that.

"We knew it was going to be very difficult, and it was. It was complicated by the expulsion of Lewandowski and from then on, we knew we would have few chances to get the result.

"The game was very difficult, but if we want to win LaLiga, we have to win these games and, like today, we also have to know how to suffer."

Raphinha fired 10-man Barcelona to a dramatic 2-1 win at Osasuna in LaLiga, as the Blaugrana recovered from Robert Lewandowski's first-half dismissal to go five points clear at the summit.

Barca fell behind to David Garcia's early header on Tuesday and were a man down when Lewandowski picked up a second booking for a reckless foul on the goalscorer.  

Unused substitute Gerard Pique ended his Blaugrana career with a whimper when he also saw red for berating the officials at the break, but Xavi's men hit back in the second half, first through Pedri.

Despite Osasuna looking the more likely victors late on, Raphinha came off the bench to nod in five minutes from time, snatching a crucial victory in Barca's final game before the World Cup.

Gerard Pique was sent off in his final match before retirement without getting as far as the pitch as Barcelona played at Osasuna on Tuesday.

With Barca 1-0 down away from home at half-time, Pique, who was named on the bench, was shown a red card for dissent at half-time by referee Jesus Gil Manzano.

Pique had been seen in animated discussion with the official after Robert Lewandowski was earlier given his marching orders.

After an emotional send-off at Camp Nou at the weekend, an eighth LaLiga dismissal brought a premature end to his career.

Carlo Ancelotti believes Real Madrid "deserved" to beat Osasuna in Sunday's draw, but called for a reaction from his players as he defended his decision to keep Eden Hazard benched.

The Belgium international was a spectator as Los Blancos slipped to a 1-1 draw against their visitors, with Karim Benzema fluffing a potential match-winning penalty to ensure the spoils were shared.

The club's first dropped points of the domestic season saw them surrender top spot to rivals Barcelona, with the pair's Clasico encounter – which takes place in just under a fortnight – set to represent a huge moment in the title race.

Speaking after Sunday's stalemate, Ancelotti acknowledged his team's frustrations after they dominated for long periods, but added that he anticipates a response.

"This team is upset when it doesn't win," he stated. "The game was under our control and we deserved to win. 

"We're not happy and that's the reason why this side won a lot last year. We're not happy with the draw and we will react soon. 

"We shouldn't be making excuses about the [international] break. We need to manage the break. We've got a very good squad."

Mariano Diaz was preferred to Hazard when Ancelotti required attacking reinforcements in the second half, and the Italian was succinct in his reasoning for the Belgian's absence.

"It was a game that needed a strong centre forward who was good in the air like Mariano, who had chances to score with his head," he added. "It wasn't the right match for Hazard’s qualities."

Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois missed the game through a case of sciatica, but Ancelotti is hopeful he could return as soon as the club's midweek Champions League encounter with Shakhtar Donetsk.

"He's got some tests and we'll see if he can get back," he stated. "It's a muscular issue, I think it's with the sciatic nerve. We'll find out if he can play on Wednesday."

Carlo Ancelotti refused to single Karim Benzema out for criticism after the striker's penalty miss saw Real Madrid drop points in LaLiga for the first time this season against Osasuna.

Despite Benzema's return from a three-week injury lay-off, Madrid produced a disjointed performance on Sunday, squandering a first-half lead when Kike Garcia cancelled out Vinicius Junior's fortunate opener.

Benzema had the chance to fire Madrid to a seventh consecutive league victory when David Garcia was sent off for a push on the striker six yards out, but the France star crashed his spot-kick against the crossbar.

Osasuna's 10 men held on for a point in comfortable fashion thereafter, and Benzema has now missed three penalties against Jagoba Arrasate's team in LaLiga this year.

Ancelotti refused to blame Benzema for the result, however, and insisted Madrid had not performed badly, telling DAZN: "Karim usually scores. 

"The match wasn't spectacular, but after the goal we conceded, the team played as it had to play. 

"Karim had no problems starting to play 90 minutes. He has to get in the best shape by playing. 

"It's a footballing accident that can sometimes happen. We've been quite solid at the back, we had a good balance, we hardly conceded any counter-attacks."

Osasuna have now claimed three draws against Madrid since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, more than any other team in LaLiga.

Madrid's failure to find a winning goal means they remain behind Barcelona on goal difference at the summit, and midfielder Dani Ceballos says they lacked dynamism in Sunday's draw. 

"We wanted the three points, we tried until the end, but we have lost two points," he said. "We improved in the last minutes, but we have not been able to get the victory.

"We were not good facing the goal, nor with the ball, we lacked a bit of dynamism. We have another game on Wednesday [against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League] to face in a good way."

Real Madrid saw their perfect start in LaLiga halted by 10-man Osasuna on Sunday, as Karim Benzema missed a late penalty on his return from injury in a dramatic 1-1 draw.

Injuries to Luka Modric and Thibaut Courtois left Madrid depleted at the Santiago Bernabeu, but they took the lead in fortunate fashion when Vinicius Junior's cross beat Sergio Herrera.

Courtois' replacement Andriy Lunin was caught out by Kike Garcia's header as Osasuna equalised shortly after half-time, but the hosts were awarded a penalty when David Garcia pushed Benzema, earning himself a red card.

However, Benzema hammered his spot-kick against the crossbar as Osasuna clung on, ending Madrid's 100 per cent record in LaLiga this season.

Osasuna gave as good as they got during a frantic opening, twice going close through tricky winger Abde Ezzalzouli on the break.

Benzema almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion from Vinicius' cross after 37 minutes, clipping the left-hand post with an acrobatic volley, but Madrid did not have to wait long for their opener.

Vinicius' in-swinging cross evaded Benzema before nestling in the bottom-right corner after 41 minutes, with a VAR review awarding the goal after ruling Benzema was not interfering with play from an offside position.

Osasuna needed just five minutes to level after the break, however, as Kike's glancing header looped beyond Lunin to find the top-left corner, stunning the Bernabeu into silence.

Just as Madrid appeared to be running out of ideas, Garcia's clumsy foul on Benzema saw the defender dismissed and handed the France striker the chance to win the match with 11 minutes left.

However, the Ballon d'Or favourite stuck the bar with a poor effort before heading Rodrygo Goes' stoppage-time cross wide as Osasuna held on.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois faces a spell on the sidelines after suffering an injury with Belgium during the international break.

The 30-year-old completed 90 minutes as Belgium lost 1-0 to the Netherlands in last Sunday's Nations League clash, but appeared to be in some discomfort during the game.

Madrid host Osasuna in LaLiga on Sunday as they return to action after the last international break before November's World Cup, but will be without their star goalkeeper.

The Spanish and European champions released a statement ahead of the clash with Osasuna stating Courtois had suffered a hernia issue.

However, Carlo Ancelotti's side did not confirm how long the back injury will keep Courtois on the sidelines as Madrid await results from scans on the former Chelsea man.

Courtois remains the only player to have played every minute of the season so far for Madrid, who are undefeated this campaign, but that run will end with Andriy Lunin expected to replace him.

Page 1 of 4
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.