Barcelona enter final

Barcelona enter final

Football Foreign round-up: Fabregas, Xavi strike as Catalans score over Valencia

Barcelona set up a King's Cup final against Athletic Bilbao when Cesc Fabregas scored one goal and created another for Xavi in a 2-0 win over 10-man Valencia in their semifinal second leg on Wednesday.

Having knocked out holders and arch-rivals Real Madrid in the last eight, Barca comfortably disposed of Spain's third-strongest side 3-1 on aggregate as they bid to extend their national record for domestic Spanish Cup triumphs to 26.

Lionel Messi sent Fabregas clear to score the opener in the 16th minute at the Nou Camp, the former Arsenal captain beating his marker to the bouncing ball before lifting it superbly over Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves.  

Valencia had two chances for an equaliser in quick succession at the start of the second half before Alves, who saved a Messi penalty in the first leg, was twice called upon to deny the Argentine with excellent reaction saves.

Valencia's comeback hopes were dashed when midfielder Sofiane Feghouli was dismissed for a second yellow card 13 minutes from time before Xavi ran on to a Fabregas pass and smashed the ball high into the net to make it 2-0 on the night.

"It's been a very long road against some very tough teams but we want to be in all the finals we possibly can," Fabregas said in a television interview.

"It's going to be a great final because Bilbao have some fantastic players and we'll have to be at our best," he added of the title match, the date and location of which have yet to be confirmed by the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF).  Bilbao, the 23-times winners, ended third-tier Mirandes' fairytale cup run on Tuesday with a 6-2 victory at their San Mames stadium that sent them through 8-3 on aggregate.

Sunderland progress

Stephane Sessegnon struck deep into extra-time as Sunderland booked their place in the FA Cup fifth round with a 2-1 replay win over second-tier rivals Middlesbrough in London on Wednesday.

With the scores level after 90 minutes and the match heading for a penalty shootout, the Benin international aimed a right-foot drive into the bottom corner past Middlesbrough keeper Jason Steele. Sunderland will host Arsenal in the fifth round.

Sunderland, revitalised in the Premier League since Martin O'Neill took over as manager in December, dominated the early exchanges but had to wait until the 42nd minute to take the lead against the north-east neighbours.

Forward Fraizer Campell, who scored Sunderland's goal in the 1-1 draw in the first meeting between the sides, laid the ball off to midfielder Jack Colback. He took aim and blasted the visitors ahead with a powerful shot that went in off the underside of the bar. Middlesbrough were level 11 minutes after the break. Lukas Jutkiewicz reacted quickly to a bouncing ball in the penalty area and volleyed past Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet.  Both sides defended resolutely to force the match into extra time, but as legs began to tire, Sessegnon drove forward into the Middlesbrough penalty area and steered the ball home with minutes remaining.