Barcelona struggles to 1-0 win in Cup Clásico after two defeats
After losses against Manchester United and Almería, FC Barcelona won in the lion’s den. In the first match of the duel with Real Madrid in the battle for a final place in the Spanish Cup, Xavi’s team won 0-1.
The victory came far from smoothly. Real Madrid was the better team in a sometimes solid match. Barcelona, missing Robert Lewandowski as the attacking leader, was mostly concerned with defending.
In the opening stages, it was Real Madrid that was firmly in control. Barcelona played sloppily, while De Koninklijke’s combinations ran smoothly. After 12 minutes, Real seemed to convert the superiority into a lead, after Karim Benzema controlled a cross from Vinícius on the chest and volleyed in the hit, but when sending the pass, the top French striker was offside.
After 25 minutes, it was Barcelona’s turn to score a disallowed goal. At least, that’s what it looked like. The referee whistled for an offside situation, but after VAR intervention, the goal went through anyway.
Indeed, striker Franck Kessié was not offside (Raphinha was, but he didn’t get the ball) and he worked the ball in through three Madrilenians. The question is whether Éder Militão or Nacho touched the ball last. In any case, the fact was that Barcelona took the lead, against proportion at the time.
In the second half, Real was again the dominant side, without creating huge chances. Barcelona did get chances. In the 72nd minute, for example, Kessié had a huge chance. But he shot against teammate Ansu Fati.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, kept trying with all their might to score the equalizer, but coach Carlo Ancelotti’s team failed to convert the many ball possession into big chances.
Ancelotti was also Real’s coach the last time the team won the Copa del Rey. That was in 2014, in the Italian coach’s first term.
The next Clásico is already in two weeks, then it will be a league match. In the league, Barcelona is first with seven points ahead of Real. If Sergio Busquets is in that match again, he will further sharpen a special record. The Barcelona captain played his 46 classic, a record number.
In the other semifinal of the Copa del Rey, Osasuna won 1-0 yesterday at home against Athletic Bilbao. The return of that match is on April 4, a day later the return between Real and Barcelona is at Camp Nou.