Suarez takes Barcelona to Copa del Rey final

Sajith B Warrier

A clinical Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-0 at Santiago Berbnabeu in an intense second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal as a Luis Suarez double helped them secure a 4-1 aggregate victory and a spot in the final for the sixth straight season.

Bidding to win the trophy for a record fifth year in a row, the Catalans will face either Betis or Valencia, who drew 2-2 in the first leg of their semifinal and meet again on Thursday (February 28).

A dominant yet wasteful Real ravaged their rivals in the first half while spurning a string of clear chances at their home ground.

Yet Barca went ahead against the run of play in the 50th minute as Ousmane Dembele led a counter-attack and Suarez slotted his pass into the net.

Spearheaded by the pace and confidence of Brazilian teenager Vinicius Jr, Madrid continued to fly forward but failed to find the target.

Barca effectively killed off the tie when Raphael Varane bundled the ball into his own net as he tried to prevent Suarez reaching another cross from Dembele.

Suarez then earned a penalty and further humiliated Madrid by converting with an audacious 'Panenka', deceiving goalkeeper Keylor Navas by chipping the ball into the net.

Real coach Santiago Solari stressed his side's dominance in the game but cursed their inability to take their numerous chances.

"In football you have to be efficient and take the chances you get," he said.

"We fell with honour, we could do no more. We were not clinical but they were, and we go home feeling hurt because we really wanted to reach the final."

Worst of all for Madrid, La Liga leaders Barca will be back at the Bernabeu once again on Saturday for a league fixture which, should they win again, would see them move 12 points clear of their archrivals.

Barca, who lost first leg games to Levante and Sevilla in the Cup and drew 1-1 with Madrid in the first leg of the semifinal, will play the final at the Benito Villamarin stadium, the home of Real Betis, on May 25.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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