Wednesday, March 22, 2023
HomeSportsBarcelona claim first-leg advantage over Real Madrid in Copa del Rey semi-final

Barcelona claim first-leg advantage over Real Madrid in Copa del Rey semi-final

Barcelona claimed another key win over bitter rivals Real Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie, beating Los Blancos 1-0 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday evening.

A tight game might have been expected, particularly given Barcelona‘s need to stop their recent losing streak, and that’s how it was from very early on in the capital.

The one moment of real class in the early stages came as Karim Benzema put the ball in the net but from an offside position. Found by Vinicius Junior, the Ballon d’Or exquisitely took the ball under his control and volleyed into the corner, but his goal-of-the-season contender was taken away from him by the offside flag.

Barcelona then got themselves ahead, though initially seemed as though they’d be thwarted by the flag too. Franck Kessie was put through on goal and the ball ended up in the net after a Thibaut Courtois save bounced off Eder Militao before being turned over the line rather haplessly by Nacho. Initially ruled out, VAR intervened and the goal then stood.

Real Madrid knocked on the door, but…

The second half saw an improvement from Los Blancos, but not for long enough. They came out with a clear hunger to level the scores but were unable to find a way to goal.

Vinicius was lively and aggressive, but perhaps had to hold back after being booked earlier for a clash with Frenkie de Jong, which may have seen him sent off after arguing with the officials long after being booked for his foul. He was trying to drive his team on and to get the Bernabeu crowd to help, but to no avail.

Barcelona almost doubled the lead when Kessie had another attempt on goal. Looking likely to find the bottom corner, Kessie was left furious when teammate Ansu Fati blocked it and turned it wide.

Fortunately for Xavi Hernandez, and Ansu, the Catalans were just about able to hold on, even with Rodrygo Goes going within inches of a 90th-minute equaliser.

The two meet in LaLiga Santander at the Camp Nou on March 19, before facing off on that same stage for the second leg of this semi-final on April 5.



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