Welcome to Sportstar’s highlights of the Real Madrid vs Barcelona (El Clasico) Copa del Rey semifinals first-leg clash played at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Barcelona clinches a 1-0 win against Real Madrid in the first-leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals courtesy of an own goal by Eder Militao in the 27th minute.
Both teams will play the second-leg on March 20th.
Alvaro and Ter Stegen collide as both went for the ball and the freekick goes in favour of Barcelona. Ter Stegen has taken a knock and takes a while to stand up but it is nothing major.
Carvajal curls a cross inside the box but there is no one there to meet it. Araujo heads the ball away to safety.
Booking: Xavi is shown a yellow card for showing dissent from the touchline.
Five minutes added at end of the second-half.
Rodrygo takes a shot from about 25 yards, which does not trouble Ter Stegen but got him concerned for a second as it whizzed past the goal.
Camavinga’s cross inside the box cannot be controlled by Benzema and the ball ends up with Ter Stegen.
Barcelona sub: IN- Roberto OUT- Kessie.
Real Madrid sub: IN- Alvaro OUT- Modric. Can Alvaro score a late equaliser once again? It was his 85th minute goal that got Real Madrid the equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Atletico in the weekend.
Barcelona totally playing on the counter now as it is back defending in numbers. Xavi’s men have defended well and are close in clinching a precious 1-0 win at the Bernabeu.
Modric finds Carvajal with a pinpoint cross at the backpost. Carvajal tries to cross the ball to the centre but sees his effort blocked. The Spaniard has performed below par tonight.
There is a handball shout inside the penalty box as Ferran Torres seemed to have touched the ball with his arm. VAR has a check and gives nothing. The ball hit the shoulder and came down off the chest of the former Man City player.
Real Madrid sub: IN- Tchouameni OUT- Kroos
Booking: Valverde sees a yellow card for his challenge on De Jong.
How has Barca not scored there? Ferran Torres finds Kessie with a wonderful cutback. Kessie shoots at goal but Fati deflects the ball out for a Real Madrid goalkick. The ball was destined for the bottom corner and Courtois was out of the equation.That is unfortunate to say the least.
Araujo gets up well to head the ball as the ball was played inside the box from a freekick. But, the effort was not on target.
Barcelona sub: IN- Fati OUT- Raphinha.
Kessie releases Raphinha with a well-measured through ball. Raphinha does cross the ball inside the box but it is too heavy for Ferran Torres as he cannot reach the ball.
Real Madrid sub: IN- Rodrygo OUT- Nacho
Booking: Kessie sees a yellow card for bringing down Carvajal. Real Madrid has a freekick in a good position.
Carvajal’s cross at the end of a Real Madrid attack is disappointing and Ter Stegen collects the ball with ease.
Barca had a chance to counter but Raphinha could not keep the ball inside play. Meanwhile, Real Madrid is preparing its first substitution. Rodrygo to come on.
Camavinga loses the ball and Raphinha is clear to make a run at goal. He tries to get past Camavinga who had recovered well, but the Frenchman atones for his previous error by making an excellent tackle to dispossess the Brazilian.
There was a penalty shout as Modric’s shot seemed to have hit Alonso’s hand but the referee waves play to continue. In all fairness, it was more of an appeal from the crowd and not Modric.
Vinicius sends a dangerous cross at the back-post but Ter Stegen does very well to palm it away. He had to get a touch as Benzema was lurking to get that decisive touch. The ball might have ended up inside the net as well as it was curling wickedly.
Modric sends the ball inside the Barca box with a cross from the outside of his boot. Benzema looked to get at the end of it but Alonso does well to get the ball away.
Booking: Nacho is the latest to get a yellow card for pulling down Raphinha.
Balde’s backpass was not good and for a moment, it looked like Benzema would pounce on the loose ball. But Marcos Alonso does well to get to the ball and poke the ball away from the Frenchman.
Camavinga’s shot from distance is nowhere near on target as the ball sails over Ter Stegen’s goal.
Booking: Gavi finally sees the yellow card. He was walking a tightrope for a long time and the referee finally books him. It was for a shove on Vinicius before a Madrid corner.
Chance- Valverde fizzes a cross inside the box. The cross is met by Vinicius who shoots first-time but Araujo makes a crucial block to send the ball out for a corner. Vincius urges the home crowd to make more noise.
Camavinga sends it through for Vinicius, who seemed to have gotten his shot away, which forced a save from Ter Stegen. However, the linesman says that the ball had already gone out by the time Vinicius got his shot away. Goalkick for Barcelona.
No half-time changes to report for either side.
The second-half of the Copa del Rey semifinal between Real Madrid and Barcelona kicks-off. Barcelona leading 1-0 courtesy of an Eder Militao own goal in the 27th minute.
Eder Militao’s own goal keeps Barcelona in a 1-0 lead against Real Madrid in the first-leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals.
Nacho brings down Raphinha and it is a Barca freekick. A good chance for Barca to see out some precious seconds and go into half-time with a lead.
Two minutes added at the end of the first-half.
Booking: Raphinha gets a yellow card pulling back Vinicius Jr.
Nacho sends a cross inside the box which is punched away by Ter Stegen. It isn’t the best of punches and the ball falls to Valverde. Valverde sends a ball inside the box again but this time, Ter Stegen catches it. Tough to say whether it was a cross or a shot.
Chance- A lovely ball is played out to Carvajal at the far-post. Carvajal, who had all the time and space, shoots first-time on the volley but cannot keep his effort on target. The ball blazes over the bar for a Barca freekick.
Gavi clatters into Militao and it is a late challenge again by the youngster. However, he escapes a card again. He is walking a tightrope.
Benzema gets the ball inside the box but he is crowded out before he can get his shot away. In the end, anywhere will do as the Barcelona clears the ball to safety.
It is a fast break from Barcelona. De Jong does well under pressure to spread the ball out to Gavi who was free on the left. Gavi pings a low cross inside the Madrid box but cannot find a teammate.
Kessie was down inside the Barca penalty box but Madrid does not stop playing as the referee did not blow the whistle. Modric lines a shot from distance but sees his effort go well over the bar. Barca players are not happy with Madrid for keeping on playing despite seeing Kessie down. It is all happening down there.
It is heating up right now, like it so often does in the El Clasico. Modric gets the ball and tries to start an attack for an immediate Madrid reply. However, play halts as Gavi clatters into Camavinga but escapes a yellow card. Real Madrid and the home crowd are not happy at all with the decision.
GOOOALLLL!! BARCELONA LEAD AFTER A MILITAO OWN GOAL!! At first it looked like Kessie had scored from the rebound after his shot was saved by Courtois but replay shows that the rebound struck Militao and the ball creeped inside the net. Nothing the Brazilian could do about that.
Booking: Vinicius Jr is shown a yellow card for bringing down De Jong. The Santiago Bernabeu shows its displeasure at the decision along with the player.
Valverde and Carvajal with some good inter-play on the right flank under pressure. Valverde sends a low cross inside the box for Benzema but the Frenchman cannot get to the ball.
Alonso delivers a good ball inside the Madrid box from a freekick. Araujo gets up to head the ball but cannot get a clear contact. The Madrid defence ultimately clears the ball.
Valverde shows good initiative to try and find Benzema with a cheeky pass from the right flank. Benzema had made the run but could not reach it as the ball was cleared to safety.
Vinicius, under pressure from Araujo, whips in a cross from the left but Ter Stegen does well to collect the ball.
Benzema takes a shot from distance but it takes a deflection and goes out for a corner.
Barcelona defends the subsequent corner successfully.
BENZEMA GOAL RULED OUT!! OFFSIDE!!- A beautiful Real Madrid move: Camavinga wins the ball from Kessie and passes it to Valverde. Valverde finds Modric who in turn, rolls it to Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian spots Benzema at the far-post and lobs a wonderful cross to him. Benzema took the ball down well and slotted it into the net, but the assistant referee had raised his flag of offside.
Real Madrid with a good chance to counter from a Barca corner, but Modric’s pass to Vinicius Jr iis overhit and the ball goes out of play.
Vinicius is free on the left flank as he receives a cross field diagonal. He makes his way inside the box, goes past Araujo but his attempted shot is disappointing. The ball goes out for a Barca goalkick.
It has been all Madrid in the opening minutes of the first-half. Barcelona cannot escape from its own-half.
Real Madrid players are pressing early in the first-half, which is not allowing Barcelona to keep the ball for too long.
A mix up at the back for Barcelona and Luka Modric is played a good pass. He makes a run at goal and hits the side-netting with his shot. Kounde did well to recover and put pressure on the veteran midfielder.
The Copa del Rey semifinal first-leg between Real Madrid and Barcelona has kicked-off at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
1:25 AM- The ‘Hala Madrid’ anthem reverberating across the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. It is an atmosphere worthy of an El Clasico. Kick-off is just five minutes. Stay tuned for live updates.
A wounded Barcelona faces Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semifinal first leg on Thursday, hunting for a Clasico win to make coach Xavi Hernandez’s gamble at a critical moment of the season pay off.
Despite missing injured duo Pedri and Ousmane Dembele, Xavi rested other important players in the 1-0 defeat by Almeria on Sunday, prioritising the Clasico cup clash and spurning the chance to stretch its league lead to 10 points on Madrid.
Adding to Barca’s unease ahead of the Clasico, top scorer Robert Lewandowski has suffered a hamstring strain and is set to miss out, although Ansu Fati is poised to return.
Delivering what Xavi described as the “worst performance of the season” at Almeria, Barcelona suffered its second consecutive defeat after it was knocked out of the Europa League by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
A third defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu could send the team into a spiral, with their seven-point La Liga lead strong but not unassailable.
The Catalans visit the Santiago Bernabeu a day after Osasuna welcome Athletic Bilbao to El Sadar in the other Copa del Rey semi-final first leg.
“We have to change our mindset if we want to win the league and the cup,” warned Xavi after El Bilal Toure’s goal inflicted only their second Liga defeat of the season.
“We have no excuse, we didn’t show the desire to play, intensity, that is what worries me the most.
“You can slip up, but you have to show passion and desire and in the first half we lacked that.”
Anything other than a good result in the capital will raise further questions about the coach’s decision to rest Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Raphinha and Alejandro Balde against Almeria.
Xavi has said if his team win La Liga but not the Copa del Rey, it would still count as a good season, with the Spanish Super Cup already in the bag.
However, losing this double-header against their arch-rival would allow further doubts about the project to creep in, fuelling Xavi’s detractors after spending big last summer.
Barcelona brought in several players, including striker Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, as well as Kounde and Raphinha, and the outlay they made and the financial manoeuvring they did to get the transfers through demands instant results.
Real Madrid saw its disappointing derby draw against Atletico on Saturday transformed into a better result by Barcelona’s stumble.
With one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals after an emphatic 5-2 win over Liverpool at Anfield, Carlo Ancelotti’s side can turn their attention to getting revenge after their Spanish Super Cup humbling.
Barcelona were emphatic 3-1 winners in Saudi Arabia in January as they won the first trophy of the Xavi era.
On that day, the Catalans, desperate to end their silverware drought, seemed far more up for the fight than Madrid, but the Copa del Rey is a different story.
The last time Madrid lifted the trophy was a 3-1 win over Barcelona in the 2014 final at Mestalla when Gareth Bale scored a magnificent solo goal.
Los Blancos are without injured trio David Alaba, Rodrygo and Ferland Mendy.
“Now the Cup is the most important thing because it’s the next game, and we are very close to a title,” said Carlo Ancelotti after Madrid’s derby draw.
“We’re 270 minutes away from winning a title.”