Puyol, Abidal lead Barca over Madrid 2-1 in Cup

Puyol, Abidal lead Barca over Madrid 2-1 in Cup

Published Jan. 19, 2012 1:02 a.m. ET

For all Jose Mourinho's success, the Portuguese manager is finding it nearly impossible to beat Barcelona since taking over Real Madrid.

Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal scored rare goals to rally Barcelona to a 2-1 victory Wednesday night in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal, the Catalans' second win in a month at Santiago Bernabeu.

Barcelona made it six wins in nine meetings against Mourinho's Madrid, with its lone victory coming in last season's cup final.

After his team was against frustrated, Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said Real defender Pepe could be disciplined for stamping on Lionel Messi's hand in the second half. Pepe has a history of aggressive play in the ''clasico'' series, including a red card in last season's Champions League semifinal.


''If it's intentional then it's punishable,'' Mourinho said.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney tweeted ''Pepe. What an idiot.''

''Unfortunately these are plays that are there but the referee didn't see,'' Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez said. ''That was brutal.''

The Spanish, European and world champions, who trail Madrid by five points in La Liga, beat its rival for the ninth time in 13 games since Pep Guardiola took over as coach. Madrid's lone win during that stretch was in April's cup final.

''Sooner or later this has to end. There's no way you can continue such a streak in such an important (stadium),'' Guardiola said after marking his 41st birthday with a fifth coaching victory at the Santiago Bernabeu. ''While it's true we've dominated them that doesn't give us any advantage before the return leg.''

Cristiano Ronaldo put Madrid ahead in the 11th minute on a counterattack with his 27th goal of the season.

''We got to halftime without conceding and the result was in our favor,'' Casillas said. ''But in the second half another set play hurt us. We've had problems with these.''

Puyol tied it with a header off a corner kick in the 49th, his first goal since Oct. 16, 2010.

''What I didn't expect was that a team winning 1-0 should allow an equalizer through a set play. A team that wants to beat Barcelona cannot allow such a goal,'' Mourinho said. ''The series is till open, but it's very difficult for us.''

Abidal gave Barcelona control of the home-and-home, total-goals series in the 77th when he chested down a scooped pass from Messi, who played his 300th game for Barcelona. Receiving the ball inside the penalty area, Abidal flicked a left-footed shot under goalkeeper Casillas. It was just his second goal for Barcelona, his first since Jan. 5, 2011.

The second leg is next Wednesday night at Barcelona, the ninth ''clasico'' between the rivals in nine months.

Ronaldo's goal, his fourth against Barcelona, came when he ran onto Pepe's long pass and struck a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto, who starts in cup matches instead of Victor Valdes.

In Wednesday's other quarterfinal, Fernando Llorente and Iker Muniain headed in goals to give Athletic Bilbao a 2-0 victory over Mallorca.


LONDON (AP) - Birmingham knocked local rival Wolverhampton out of the FA Cup, winning 1-0 as Wade Elliott scored on a rebound in the 74th minute. His initial shot hit a post, and the first rebound attempt was blocked.

The League Championship club will visit Sheffield United in the fourth round. Last season, Birmingham lost on the final day of the season and was relegated, allowing Wolves to remain in the Premier League.

In Wednesday's other third-round replay, Brighton beat Wrexham 5-4 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie in overtime.


MILAN (AP) - Alexandre Pato scored in the 10th minute of overtime off a pass from Robinho but then left six minutes later with his latest muscle injury as AC Milan defeated Novara 2-1 and advanced to an Italian Cup quarterfinal against Lazio.

Milan had taken the lead on a long shot by 19-year-old forward Stephen El Shaarawy in the 24th minute, but Ivan Radovanovic tied it in the 88th with a low free kick.

Milan's 38-year-old striker Filippo Inzaghi made his first start since Sept. 18, 2010, and was set up twice by El Sharaawy, but he couldn't take advantage of his opportunities and was replaced by Pato in the 58th. Inzaghi missed most of last season following knee surgery.

Lazio beat Serie B's Verona 3-2. The other quarterfinals are Juventus-Roma, Siena-Chievo Verona and Napoli against the winner of Thursday's game between Inter Milan and Genoa.