Barcelona and Real Madrid met again for the second time this season in the Copa del Ray semi-final. The first time they met this season, Barcelona dominated Madrid, 5-1. Even though Barcelona’s star captain Lionel Messi was 100% fit after suffering a leg injury against Valencia so head coach Ernesto Valverde decided to keep Messi on the bench. Barcelona looked the more dominant team coming into the game after they have seen success in both Champions League and La Liga. Real Madrid has been in somewhat of a bad form after losing their world star winger, Cristiano Ronaldo. Madrid is in third place in La Liga and their trailing Barcelona by eight points.
Although Barcelona has been in better form before the game, Madrid was able to score first in the sixth minute. Vinicius Junior did well on the left wing, crossing in a ball to the back post. Benzema was able to control the ball and sent a low cross into Vazquez who tipped the ball into the net. Barcelona looked a little shaky in the first half. They were making silly mistakes, poor passes and overall didn’t look in good form.
Barcelona was able to tie the game in the second half after a flurry of attempts on goal. Jordi Alba received a through ball but was beaten to it by Keylor Navas. Navas cleared the ball only to Suarez, who curled a shot that was blocked on the goal line by Varane. The ball fell to Malcolm and was able to sneak a shot into the net past Varane.
The first half was all Real Madrid. Barcelona is still a good team without Messi playing, but when he is on the pitch he brings a different energy to the game, as we saw when he got subbed on in the 63 minute. Both teams although are not focused on Copa del Ray or even La Liga, both are mainly focused on the Champions League. After winning four of the last five European titles, Madrid wants to be able to say that they’ve won four straight Champions League trophies.
After getting knocked out by Roma last season in the Champions League, Barcelona is doing everything they can to make sure the European Trophy comes back to the Camp Nou. Barcelona will face Real Madrid in the second leg on February 27 at 3:00 PM (EST)