BARCELONA – King’s Cup holders Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 1-0 in their quarter-final first leg to end a 9.5 year barren spell at the Basque side while Atlético Madrid crushed Eibar on Thursday.
Brazil forward Neymar won and scored a penalty in the 21st minute after being tripped by Aritz Elustondo to decide the game but spurned two clear chances after the break that would have given Barca a more comfortable lead in the tie.
Sociedad had not lost to Barcelona at their Anoeta home in any competition since 2007 and could have struck an early blow when Willian José went down in the box in the first minute after a challenge from Gerard Piqué but was denied a penalty.
Spain defender Piqué made a vital block later in the first half to prevent Asier Illarramendi leveling from the edge of the box after a lay-off from Carlos Vela.
Teenager Mikel Oyarzabal, scorer of the only goal in a Sociedad victory over Barca last April, came closest for the home side, firing just wide of the far post in a sweeping breakaway move midway through the second half.
The second leg at the Nou Camp takes place next Thursday.
Earlier, Atlético Madrid put one foot in the semi-finals as they eased to a 3-0 win over Eibar thanks to goals from Antoine Griezmann, Ángel Correa and Kevin Gameiro.
Griezmann headed Atlético in front in the 28th minute, after Stefan Savic had an earlier effort ruled out for offside and Argentine winger Correa doubled their advantage on the hour by sweeping the ball home after a run by Yannick Carrasco.
Substitute Gameiro stretched Atletico’s lead by heading in from close range in the 67th after replacing Correa to give Eibar little chance of turning the tie around in the second leg at their Ipurua stadium next Thursday.
Real Madrid lost 2-1 at home to Celta Vigo in their first-leg on Wednesday while Alavés beat second division Alcorcon 2-0.