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Copa del Rey
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Athletic Bilbao wins to set up Basque derby in Copa del Rey final

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MADRID — For the first time in more than a century, a Basque derby will decide the Copa del Rey.

Athletic Bilbao reached the Copa final for the fourth time in 12 years despite a 2-1 loss at Granada on Thursday, advancing on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate score to set up a title match against Basque Country rival Real Sociedad.

It will be the first time the two teams play for the Copa title since Athletic beat Sociedad in 1910 in the deciding match of a three-team mini-tournament.

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Neither club has won the cup in more than 30 years, with Athletic’s last title coming in 1984 and Sociedad’s in 1987.

Sociedad defeated second-division club Mirandes 1-0 on Wednesday to advance 3-1 on aggregate.

Athletic won 1-0 in Bilbao but was down 2-0 on Thursday after second-half headers by Carlos Fernandez and German Sanchez. Yuri Berchiche scored the decisive away goal after a run into the area in the 81st to secure his team a spot in the April 18 final in Seville.

Athletic, which only fields players born or raised in the Basque region, is the second-most successful club in the Copa with 23 titles, behind Barcelona’s 30. Athletic lost to the Catalan club the last three times it reached the final – in 2009, 2012 and 2015.

Two-time champion Sociedad last made it to the final in 1988, a year after it won its second title. The first came in 1909.

Granada was trying to reach its second Copa final, and first since 1959, when it lost to Barcelona.

Athletic eliminated Barcelona 1-0 at home in the quarterfinals, while Sociedad ousted Real Madrid with a 4-3 win at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

It’s the first time in a decade neither Barcelona nor Madrid made it to the last four.

Odegaard shines again as Real Sociedad take 1st leg lead

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It took a long while, but Martin Odegaard is delivering the goods.

The teen phenom whose recruitment carried a captive audience five years ago is now a 21-year-old proven playmaker in two leagues.

Odegaard scored again Thursday as Real Sociedad took a Copa Del Rey semifinal first-leg lead with a 2-1 win over second-tier Mirandes.

The second leg is March 5 in Castile and León, where Mirandes looks to make history as a Copa del Rey finalist from outside La Liga.

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Mikel Oyarzabal gave Real Sociedad a ninth-minute lead on Thursday before Matheus Aias leveled the score for Cinderella in the 39th. Odegaard found the match-winner in the 42nd.

That gives the Real Madrid loanee three goals and three assists in four tournament matches for the Txuri-urdinak.

Odegaard had already captured the attention of some of the world’s biggest clubs when he was called up by Norway at age 15. Barcelona was linked, and the kid said he loved Liverpool on a visit that came shortly after he hit up Old Trafford.

He eventually chose Real Madrid, debuting with the first team in 2014/15 but only making one more senior appearance in 2016/17 before heading on loan to Heerenveen in the Netherlands.

Odegaard showed glimpses of class there, but really took off with 11 goals and 12 assists for Vitesse Arnhem last season.

Now he has Real Sociedad on the brink of a first Copa del Rey final since 1988, collecting seven goals and eight assists in 24 matches.

Barcelona targeting special ’emergency transfer’ after Dembele injury

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Ousmane Dembele’s long-term injury will allow Barcelona to make an emergency transfer from inside of Spain.

Dembele’s projected six-month absence will send Barca into the market, where they are mentioned by Marca as suitors of Willian Jose, Lucas Perez, Angel Rodriguez, Loren Moron, and Luis Suarez.

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That’s the other Luis Suarez, as Barcelona waits on the health and fitness of the well-known Uruguayan striker.

Here’s the low down on the list of possible signings:

Willian Jose, Real Sociedad — Currently out of favor with his club and the likeliest to move should Barca pony up the $40-plus million it will take, Jose has eight goals on the season and 52 during his time with the club.

Lucas Perez, Alaves — Yes, the formal Arsenal and West Ham man. Perez remains comfortable in Spanish football, and has nine goals and four assists through 22 matches.

Angel Rodriguez, Getafe — The elder statesman of the group, soon-to-be 33-year-old Rodriguez has 13 goals and two assists this season, including three in six Europa League matches.

Loren Moron, Real Betis — At 26, Moron has bagged 10 goals with three assists in 25 appearances this season.

Luis Suarez, Real Zaragoza — The 22-year-old Colombian’s full name is Luis Javier Suárez Charris and he is on loan from Watford. His LaLiga2 stars are a strong 14 goals and three assists in 25 outings.

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.

Transfer rumor roundup: Willian Jose to Spurs, Bournemouth after Croatian CB

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London could get itself another Willian.

Willian Jose, 28, was left out of Real Sociedad’s squad at his request on Wednesday, with the club Tweeting that he’d prefer not to play until his situation is resolved.

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Jose Mourinho said he would not comment on another team’s players, but Willian Jose could help Spurs bridge the gap to Harry Kane‘s return.

Willian Jose has been a double-digit scorer for Real Sociedad in La Liga for the previous three seasons, and is well on his way to another 10-goal campaign. He’s got eight goals in 20 matches this season.

Bournemouth needs defensive help, and is reportedly rivaling Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers for Portuguese giant Toni Borevkovic.

The 22-year-old Croatian has one goal in just over 3000 minutes with the side since arriving from domestic side NK Rudes.

He’s averaging 1.3 interceptions, .9 tackles, and 3.3 clearances per game in league play.

Rio Ave sits seventh in Portugal’s top flight and is managed by former Premier League boss Carlos Carvalhal.