Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid won 3-1 at defending champion Barcelona to reach the Copa del Rey soccer final for a record-extending 38th time.
Ronaldo converted from the penalty spot in the 13th minute at the Camp Nou last night and doubled the lead in the 57th minute. Raphael Varane added the third before Jordi Alba scored for Barcelona as Real completed a 4-2 victory over the two-game semifinal following a 1-1 draw in Madrid on Jan. 30.
“We had a great attitude and played well from the first minute until the last,” Ronaldo said in comments on his team’s website. “Scoring three goals here is very hard. Beating Barca is always a source of great motivation.”
Real, which hosts Barca in La Liga in three days trailing its archrival by 16 points, will face Atletico Madrid or Sevilla in the May 18 final of Spain’s elite cup competition. Atletico takes a 2-1 lead into today’s return match in Seville.
Ronaldo became the first player to score in six straight so-called El Clasico matches away from home when he put his penalty kick past Jose Manuel Pinto in the 13th minute. The Portuguese forward made it 2-0 when he collected a rebound from Angel di Maria’s shot and stroked the ball into the net.
“I feel very comfortable playing on this field,” Ronaldo said. “Entering history by scoring so many times in a row here is something beautiful.”
Varane, who scored Real’s tying goal in last month’s draw at the Bernabeu, rose highest to head a 68th-minute corner kick into the net off the crossbar. It was the first time Real scored three goals at the Camp Nou since a 3-3 draw in March 2007, according to Infostrada Sports.
Alba pulled a goal back in the 89th minute to cut the deficit to two goals, Barca’s biggest margin of defeat at home since a 2-0 La Liga loss to Heracles on Sept. 11, 2010.
In France, Saint-Etienne stayed in contention to win both domestic cup competitions by beating Lille 3-2 to reach the French Cup quarterfinals. Elsewhere last night, Troyes won 2-1 at Sochaux and Evian Thonon Gaillard beat Le Havre 3-1.
Paris Saint-Germain hosts Marseille tonight, three days after beating its archrival 2-0 to extend its lead atop Ligue 1 to three points. Former England captain David Beckham may make his first start since joining PSG on a five-month contract at the end of January.
VfL Wolfsburg and SC Freiburg reached the semifinals of the German Cup by beating Kickers Offenbach and Mainz respectively. Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich hosts defending cup champion Borussia Dortmund tonight.