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Neymar, Suarez On Target As Barca Reach Cup Final



Barcelona’s Neymar scored twice and Luis Suarez was also on target as they beat Villarreal 3-1 on Wednesday and 6-2 on aggregate to reach their fourth King’s Cup final in five years where they will face Athletic Bilbao.
Bilbao won 2-0 at Espanyol on Wednesday and 3-1 on aggregate, Aritz Aduriz and Xabier Etxeita scoring in the first half for Athletic to set up a repeat of the 2012 cup final which Barca won.
It will Be Barca’s first final with Luis Enrique at the helm but the coach is not getting carried away.
“It is very good but we now need to concentrate on other things. We are happy obviously,” Luis Enrique told reporters.
“We didn’t want an end-to-end game but one where we had control. We wanted to be able to control it without any difficult moments.
“They (Villarreal) had two or three chances in the first half and then we had more control after that. We wanted to win the game but by always being under control.”
Villarreal were dreaming of overturning the first-leg defeat at the Nou Camp to reach their first final but their hopes were hit when Neymar scored after three minutes.
Barcelona eased into the Copa del Rey final as they completed a 6-2 aggregate win over Villarreal with a 3-1 win at El Madrigal on Wednesday.
Luis Enrique’s men will face Athletic Bilbao in the final for the third time in five years on May 30 after the Basques beat Espanyol 2-0 to progress 3-1 on aggregate.
Neymar had missed a penalty in Barca’s 3-1 first leg win three weeks ago, but made amends after just three minutes when he turned home Lionel Messi’s cross.
Jonathan dos Santos gave the hosts hope with an equaliser on the night against his old club, but Villarreal’s chances of a famous comeback faded when Tomas Pina was shown a straight red card for a heavy challenge on Neymar.
Luis Suarez slotted home his 11th goal of the season to make it 2-1 before Neymar rounded off the scoring from Xavi’s cross late on.
“I am very happy to be in the final again and we have to congratulate the team,” said Neymar.
“Villarreal are a great team with a lot of high-quality players. We knew it was going to be a difficult game and that is why we started so well. We scored very quickly and that helped us.”
However, victory also came at a cost as Sergio Busquets was stretchered off in the first-half with a high ankle sprain that could keep him sidelined for a significant couple of weeks with Barca set to face Real Madrid in La Liga on March 22.
“It is the bad news of the night without a shadow of a doubt,” said Enrique.
“I can’t give a diagnosis before the doctors look at him. We know he will be out for a while, how long the doctors will decide.”
Enrique started Javier Mascherano and Suarez despite both being one yellow card away from missing the final and that decision was vindicated inside three minutes as both were involved in the move that let to Neymar’s opener.
The ball eventually found its way to Messi and his tantalising in-swinging cross was looped over Sergio Asenjo by the Brazilian captain.
Villarreal refused to be beaten despite that early setback as Ikechukwu Uche fired into the side-netting, while Marc-Andre Ter Stegen denied Luciano Vietto and Denis Cheryshev.
Marcelino’s men finally got their reward when Dos Santos slotted home Jaume Costa’s cross at the back post six minutes before the break.
And Barca suffered a further blow as Busquets had to be stretchered off after Pina stood on his right ankle in the build-up to the goal.
Villarreal’s momentum was lost 20 minutes into the second period, though, when this time Pina was punished for a dangerous challenge on Neymar from behind.
Suarez then scored for the third consecutive game as he latched onto Mascherano’s ball over the top and kept his composure to round Asenjo before rolling the ball into the unguarded net.
And Neymar notched his second of the night with an easy header from another sumptuous cross, this time from Xavi.
Athletic ensured there wouldn’t be a Barcelona derby in the final as first-half goals from Aritz Aduriz and Borja Etxeita gave them a comfortable advantage.
The 23-time winners will be hoping it is third time lucky against the Catalans having lost 4-1 and 3-0 to Pep Guardiola’s Barca in 2009 and 2012.

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