Abidal grabs Cup winner for Barca at Real

Updated: Jan 19, 2012, 08:38 AM IST

Madrid: Eric Abidal netted a rare but superbly-taken goal to give Barcelona a 2-1 comeback win at holders Real Madrid in a King`s Cup quarter-final first leg as Pep Guardiola`s side tightened their stranglehold over their rivals.

The France fullback, who extended his contract with the Spanish and European champions on Monday, galloped on to a floated Lionel Messi pass 13 minutes from time and calmly slotted past Iker Casillas to give the 2011 runners-up the advantage for next week`s second leg in Barcelona.

Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo had put the home side ahead with a breakaway goal in the 11th minute before Barca captain Carles Puyol flung himself at Xavi`s corner to power a header past Spain team mate Casillas for a 49th-minute equaliser.

"We won this game but we have to be careful in the return match because that`s going to be another tough test," Abidal, whose goal was only the fourth of his career, said in a television interview.

"I seem to be a Cup player," the 32-year-old former Olympique Lyon player added. "I scored in the Cup back in France and I seem to be doing it again in Spain."

The winners of the tie will face Valencia or their city neighbours Levante, who play their quarter-final first leg on Thursday.

On the other side of the draw, headers from the towering Fernando Llorente and the diminutive Iker Muniain gave Athletic Bilbao a 2-0 win at home to Real Mallorca in their last-eight first leg earlier on Wednesday.

If the Basques can hold on in Mallorca next week they will play 2006 champions Espanyol or third-tier Mirandes, who are through to the quarters for the first time.

Mirandes stunned Espanyol by opening a two-goal lead in their first leg on Tuesday before the home side struck three times in four minutes late on to secure a 3-2 lead for the second leg in Miranda de Ebro.

Bureau Report