Alexander Isak

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Isak, loanee Odegaard send Real Madrid out of Copa del Rey

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Real Madrid will not win the Copa del Rey.

They won’t even get close.

La Liga’s current leaders were dismissed from the tournament in a 4-3 loss at home to Real Sociedad, the visitors boasting Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard.

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While the Norwegian star scored, it was Swedish phenom Alexander Isak who did the damage with two goals and an assist in a 16-minute span after halftime.

Isak has 13 goals in 27 matches this season, with seven coming in the Copa del Rey.

It was 1-0 to the visitors at halftime, and 3-0 before Marcelo finally scored for Madrid. Rodrygo and Nacho Fernandez pulled the hosts to within one, but it was too little, too late.

Real Madrid had never conceded four goals in a match under Zinedine Zidane, and this loss ends their side’s 21-match unbeaten streak.

Madrid has 19 tournament wins in Copa del Rey history but has not played in a final since beating Barcelona in the 2013/14 event.

Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona are staging the final quarterfinal Thursday, and the winner will join Real Sociedad, Granada, and Cinderella story Mirandes of the Segunda Division in the semis.

La Liga roundup: Sociedad hold leaders Barcelona to draw (video)

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A stunning draw from top-of-the-table Barcelona highlight La Liga’s Saturday action.

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Real Sociedad 2-2 Barcelona

If Real Madrid manages to walk away from Mestalla with three points, they’ll dethrone nemesis Barcelona and become clear-cut leaders of La Liga.

Just days before El Clasico itself, a rare 2-2 draw from Barcelona against hosts Real Sociedad is the reason behind Los Blancos’ prime opportunity.

 

Former Borussia Dortmund starlet Alexander Isak tapped in his fourth goal of the season in the 62nd minute, leveling the score for Sociedad and sending the home fans into a frenzy.

In true Barcelona fashion, Real Sociedad, ironically hit the ground running first. 

After earning a foul inside the box from a corner kick set piece, Reala captain Mikel Oyarzabal converted from the spot, putting Sociedad, who have exceeded expectations this season under first-year manager Imanol Alguacil, up against the defending champions. 

It wouldn’t take long before the visitors responded, however.

A familiar face and experienced goalscorer at Anoeta, it was the ideal scenario for Antoine Griezmann to shake off some pressure that has been a key talking point surrounding the Frenchman lately. Darting inside the box with only Alex Remiro to beat, No. 17 – like in the old days – carefully chipped the ball over Remiro and into the back of the net the ball wandered. 

If the second half indicated anything early on it was that it was going to be difficult for Barcelona to drop points on Saturday. Unselfish as ever before, Lionel Messi laid off the ball to an unmarked Luis Suarez, who his team up 2-1 four minutes into the second half.

A lack of control of possession and, most notably, an unstable defensive line, would end up costing Barcelona two points.

Next for Barcelona is the game of the season: a league bout against Real Madrid on Wednesday, while Real Sociedad travel to Becerril in the second round of Copa del Rey. 

Elsewhere
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Osasuna
Granada 1-2 Levante
Atheltic Bilbao 0-0 Eibar

La Liga roundup: Granada tops table Real Sociedad stays close (video)

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Granada’s rise to the top of the table highlights La Liga’s Sunday action.

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Granada 1-0 Real Betis

Perhaps the biggest storyline in what is still a young La Liga season is recently-promoted side Granda’s impressive season.

With only two losses and a historic 2-0 win over Barcelona this season, Diego Martínez’s side are separating themselves from the notion that they’re running on luck, and instead are gravitating towards becoming a legitimate force within the league.

On Sunday, for a second time this season, the Andalusian side reached the La Liga summit – albeit El Clasico was postponed due to Catalonia’s political crisis.

The game boosted only a goal – a gentle strike inside the six-yard box from Alvaro Vadillo – but saw a handful of chances be wasted by both sides. Real Betis, who are in the relegation zone as a result of the outcome, controlled the possession of the ball and accumulated a total of 12, although none were on target.

Betis manager, Rubi, who joined the recent Europa League competitors this summer, is expected to be back on the dugout midweek, although his job hangs on a thread.

That said, a lot will be on the line when Betis receives Celta Vigo midweek, while Granada, on the other side of the spectrum, look to keep defying the odds as they travel to Getafe.

Celta Vigo 0-1 Real Sociedad 

Over the summer, Real Sociedad bet on two Scandinavian youngsters Alexander Isak and Martin Ödegaard, signing the former to a permanent deal and bringing in the latter on a loan from Real Madrid.

Long story short, they’ve payed dividends thus far for La Reala, who climbed up to third in the table following their 1-0 victory against Celta Vigo.

The youthful duo had everything to do with the visitor’s win in Balaidos.

In the 82nd minute, after taking the field seven minutes earlier, Isak’s unbalanced left-footed strike struck the inner-portion of the net. Ödegaard, as vigilant as ever before, picked out the Swedish attacker and assisted what would be his game-winning goal.

Real Sociedad now aim to continue their positive run going as they host Levante, while struggling Celta hope they can edge Real Betis, who are also experiencing a sour moment themselves.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Levante 0-1 Espanyol 

Sevilla 2-0 Getafe 

Osasuna 3-1 Valencia

Report: Zlatan pushing “new Ibra” towards PSG, Juventus

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Sweden has produced some of the world’s biggest stars. Obviously none bigger than Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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However, the Manchester United striker is already helping his protege receive interest from some of the world’s biggest clubs.

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Alexander Isak, 17, is reportedly being recommended to both Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain by Ibrahimovic as the young attacker continues to impress in Sweden’s top flight.

Isak currently plays for Swedish side AIK and has notched eight goals in 19 appearances this season. During the past year, Isak has appeared for the Under-17, U19 and U21 Swedish national teams.

Similar to Ibrahimovic, Isak is looking to make the leap to top level European football at a young age. Ibra spent his youth and early professional days with Swedish side Malmo before moving on to Ajax and several other major clubs throughout Europe.