Villarreal vs Barcelona. Spanish Copa del Rey Semi-Final.
Thursday 5 March 2015 11:19, UK
Neymar scored twice and Luis Suarez was also on target as Barcelona beat Villarreal 3-1 to book a Copa del Rey final spot against Athletic Bilbao.
The 6-2 aggregate win means the Catalan giants will play in their fourth final in the past five years, but the victory was marred by an injury to Barcelona midfileder Sergio Busquets, who was stretchered off with a serious looking ankle injury.
Neymar opened the scoring after just three minutes when he nudged the ball past keeper Sergio Asenjo after a cross from Lionel Messi.
Villarreal fought back and rallied when Jonathan dos Santos converted a Jaume Costa cross after 39 minutes to level the score on the night.
However, any realistic chance of a Villareal comeback was extinguished when they were reduced to ten men after Tomas Pina was sent off after 64 minutes for a reckless challenge on Neymar from behind.
Suarez then made it 2-1 after latching onto a long ball from Javier Mascherano and rounding the keeper in the 73rd minute.
Neymar put the game out of sight when he grabbed his second goal two minutes from time with a header from close range from Xavi’s cross.
Barca will meet Atletic Bilbao in the final after the Basque club beat Espanyol 2-0 in the other semi-final to go through 3-1 on aggregate.
Adritz Aduriz and Xabier Etxeita got the goals in the first half for Bilbao.
The loss of Busquets could prove an expensive price for Barcelona to pay for a place in the final as they face Real Madrid in a crucial La Liga clash and host Manchester City in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in the coming weeks.