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Puyol, Barcelona Rally To Beat Ronaldo’s Real Madrid

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Real Madrid v Barcelona - Copa del Rey

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MADRID (AP) — Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal scored rare goals to rally Barcelona over defending champion Real Madrid 2-1 Wednesday night in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal.

Cristiano Ronaldo put Madrid ahead in the 11th minute on a counterattack with his 27th goal of the season, but Puyol tied it with a header off a corner kick in the 49th, his first goal since Oct. 16, 2010.

Abidal gave Barcelona control of the home-and-home, total-goals series in the 77th when he chested down Lionel Messi’s scooped pass inside the penalty area and flicked a left-footed shot under goalkeeper Iker Casillas. It was just his second goal for Barcelona, his first since Jan. 5, 2011.

The second leg is next Wednesday night at Barcelona, the ninth “clasico” between the rivals in nine months.

On a night when Messi played his 300th game for Barcelona, the Spanish, European and world champions beat Madrid for the ninth time in 13 games since Pep Guardiola took over as coach. Madrid’s lone win during that stretch was in April’s cup final.

Ronaldo’s goal, his fourth against Barcelona, came when he ran onto Pepe’s long pass and struck a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto, who starts in cup matches instead of Victor Valdes.

In Wednesday’s other quarterfinal, Fernando Llorente and Iker Muniain headed in goals to give Athletic Bilbao a 2-0 victory over Mallorca.

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