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Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao set up final date

sports Updated: Mar 05, 2009 11:52 IST

AFP
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Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao the two most successful clubs in Spanish Cup history will meet in the final of this season's renewal after both came through their semi-finals successfully on Wednesday.

Barcelona, who have 24 Cup wins to their name, were held to a 1-1 draw in Majorca by Mallorca but progressed 3-1 on aggregate, though they are now winless in four successive matches in all competitions and have seen their league lead whittled right down by bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Indeed Barcelona, who last won the Cup in 1998, could have been in real trouble had not their reserve goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto saved a penalty in the 52nd minute which saw Barca defender Martin Caceres sent-off.

However, they settled once Mallorca's Josemi was also red carded in the 70th minute and 11 minutes later they wrapped up their place in the final when Lionel Messi netted.

Athletic Bilbao, who have won the Cup 23 times on the last occasion in 1984 beating Barcelona, wrapped up their place in the first-half of their second leg match with Sevilla as they scored three times to run out 3-0 winners on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.

The final is in Valencia on May 13.