Atletico ousts Bilbao to reach Copa del Rey semis

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 29, 2014 at 5:16 pm •  Published: January 29, 2014
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MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid will play crosstown rival Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semifinals after coming from behind for a 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, sending the visitors through 3-1 on aggregate.

Bilbao had yet to be beaten in 12 games at its new San Mames Stadium, and it appeared set to turn around its 1-0 first-leg loss after Aritz Aduriz scored in the 42nd minute.

But as steady rain continued to fall, defending champion Atletico resisted Bilbao's push until Raul Garcia beat goalkeeper Iago Herrerin on a second try in the 54th.

Diego Costa scored on the break with four minutes to play to seal a rematch of last year's final, when Atletico ended a 14-year winless run against Madrid by winning 2-1 in extra time.

"At halftime we talked about being a team made of men," Garcia said. "We had to step up when things were at their worst, and that's what happened."

Also, Alexis Sanchez scored twice to help Barcelona rout Levante 5-1 at home and advance 9-2 over two legs. The Catalan club will play either Real Sociedad or third-tier Racing Santander next.

Andres Iniesta returned after missing four games for Barcelona. Adriano, Carles Puyol, and Cesc Fabregas added to Alexis's double after Levante went ahead through Loukas Vyntra's header that hit Barcelona's Sergio Roberto before going in.

The marquee matchup of the quarterfinal round between the defending champion and Bilbao, a 23-time winner, lived up to its billing as the two sides offered a flowing, up-tempo match from start to finish.

And given the chances created by both sides, the final score would have been larger if it hadn't been for the superb performances by both goalkeepers.