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Barcelona Rallies to Win 2-1 at Real Madrid in Spanish Cup Match

Barcelona rallied from a goal down to win 2-1 at Real Madrid last night in the opening game of their quarterfinal in Spanish soccer’s Copa del Rey.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Real at Santiago Bernabeu stadium before Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal got Barcelona’s goals in the second half. The two-game series concludes at Barcelona’s Camp Nou on Jan. 25.

It’s the fifth time Jose Mourinho’s Real has failed to beat Barcelona at home since the Portuguese became coach of the nine-time European champion in 2010.

“You always think that run is coming to an end but we played a very good game,” Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola told a televised news conference. “In the end, we had a lot of chances” to score, Guardiola said.

Real beat European champion Barcelona in last year’s final of the Copa del Rey, the domestic cup competition. Barcelona beat its archrival on the way to winning the Champions League last season, and also won the Spanish league title.

Ronaldo gave Real the lead after 11 minutes, rounding off a counterattack by firing his shot through the legs of stand-in Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto.

Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez headed a cross from Cesc Fabregas against the top of the crossbar and Lionel Messi had a shot pushed out of the bottom corner of the goal by Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas before the interval.

Mental Lift

Puyol dived unchallenged to head in a corner to make it 1-1 three minutes after half time.

“To beat Barcelona you can’t do that, you can’t make any type of defensive mistakes,” Mourinho told a news conference. The goal gave Barcelona a psychological lift and hit Real’s confidence, he added.

Abidal made it 2-1 after 77 minutes, controlling a chip by Messi with his chest and guiding the ball past Casillas.

Real’s Pepe trod on the hand of Messi in one of several off-the-ball incidents that wasn’t seen by the referee. Real’s Fabio Coentrao pushed the world player of the year as they got up from the turf.

“With the tension, the nerves and everything that’s in play, it’s difficult to avoid sometimes,” Real director Emilio Butragueno told Canal+ television.

Mourinho said Pepe would be liable for punishment by the club if he trod on Messi on purpose.

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