Barcelona tops Real Sociedad 1-0 in Copa del Rey quarters
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 20, 2017 01:03 PM
FC Barcelona's Neymar Jr., right, celebrates his goal with Lionel Messi, centre back to camera, after after scoring during the Spanish Copa del Rey, quarter final, first leg soccer match, between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad, at Anoeta stadium, in San Sebastian, northern Spain, Thursday, Jan.19, 2017. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
TALES AZZONI, AP Sports Writer
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona's 10-year winless run at Real Sociedad is finally over after a 1-0 win in a first-leg quarterfinal of the Copa del Rey on Thursday.
Neymar converted a first-half penalty kick and Barcelona held on at Anoeta Stadium for the first time since 2007, ending an eight-game winless streak.
"It's a victory that gives us confidence, especially because it came at a field where we had struggled so much," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said.
Neymar calmly scored from the penalty spot after being brought down inside the area in the 21st minute, giving the two-time defending champion the advantage going into the return match at Camp Nou next week.
It was Neymar's second goal in two matches following an 11-game drought. He was rested in Barcelona's 5-0 rout of Las Palmas in the Spanish league on Saturday.
"We are happy because we hadn't won here in a long time," Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets said. "The result gives us an advantage, but they have a quality team and we've struggled against them over the years."
Barcelona lost five times and drew three in its previous eight visits to Anoeta. The last time Barcelona won in the northern city of San Sebastian was in the 2007 Spanish league with goals by Andres Iniesta and Samuel Eto'o.
The teams drew 1-1 in the league this season at Anoeta.
Iniesta was substituted at halftime on Thursday because of an apparent muscle injury.
Barcelona has reached the Copa semifinals for six straight seasons, winning three titles and finishing runner-up twice.
Real Sociedad won its lone Copa del Rey title in 1987.
ATLETICO MADRID 3, EIBAR 0
Goals by Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa, and Kevin Gameiro at Vicente Calderon Stadium moved Atletico into prime position for the return match in Basque Country next week.
"We have a significant advantage but we can't relax for a bit," Atletico defender Jose Gimenez said.
Griezmann put the hosts ahead with a header in the 28th minute after a ball redirected by Gimenez off a free kick. Correa added to the lead from close range in the 60th, and Gameiro closed the scoring with another header soon after.
Eibar is in the Copa quarterfinals for the first time.
"We know it's going to be difficult to overcome this in the return match, but we will fight until the end," Eibar defender Ander Capa said.
On Wednesday, Celta Vigo stunned Real Madrid 2-1 at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, while Alaves won at second-division club Alcorcon 2-0.
All second-leg matches will be next week.
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni