Luis Suarez’s brilliant second-half brace helped Barcelona to a 3-0 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night, confirming the Blaugrana’s place in the final of the Copa del Rey.
The match ended 4-1 on aggregate, highlighting the glaring disparity between the two La Liga juggernauts.
Having secured an encouraging 1-1 draw in the first leg at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, Real Madrid fancied themselves to get an early foothold in Wednesday’s match. They started the game on the front foot and allowed Barcelona very little time on the ball. Troubled by Real Madrid’s aggressive pressing, Barcelona decided to soak up the pressure and attack on counters.
Is Gareth Bale a good omen for Barcelona? 🤔
Real Madrid have lost all five Clasicos at the Santiago Bernabéu when he's played 😳 pic.twitter.com/rE0ZvRQt3g
— Goal (@goal) February 28, 2019
Los Blancos, buoyed by the home support, continued to charge, especially down the left flank. Vinicius Jr, who has been Madrid’s standout performer in recent weeks, was once again at his explosive best and kept Nelson Semedo on his toes. He cut inside on a number of occasions, tried to breach Barcelona’s compactness, but failed to apply the telling touch. Barcelona stopper, Marc Andre Ter Stegen was tested on a couple of occasions in the first half but ended up making some decisive saves to keep his team in the contest.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are tied at 95 Clasico wins each 🤜🤛 pic.twitter.com/9hJ766xeZO
— Goal (@goal) February 27, 2019
In the second half, the champions came out all guns blazing and turned the game on its head. Ousmane Dembele teed up Suarez in the 50th minute for Barcelona’s first goal on the night. Next, Real Madrid defender, Raphael Varane, bundled the ball into his own net to double the visitors’ tally, before Suarez converted from the spot to seal Real Madrid’s fate.
Real Madrid’s Wayward Finishing
Real Madrid needed to be at their best to get something out of their Copa del Rey clash with their bitterest rivals. Sadly, they couldn’t even come remotely close to what was expected. They started the match strongly and kept Barcelona on their toes, but when it came to converting their chances, they frustratingly fell short.
The youngest member of Santiago Solari’s team, Vinicius Jr, was once again Real Madrid’s most prominent attacker. He took the game to Barcelona and didn’t allow them to take control of the game in the first half. However, due to his tender age and negligible top-flight experience, he couldn’t apply the finishing touch.
Barcelona Show their Class in Second Half
Real Madrid were superb in the opening forty-five and ticked all the right boxes except for finding the back of the net. Barcelona, having struggled to cope with Blancos’ relentless pressure in the first half, came out with an improved plan in the second. They used Ousmane Dembele to take the game to Real and ultimate scored the decisive opener.
Luis Suarez was Barcelona's hero as they reached their sixth consecutive Copa del Rey final by knocking out Real Madrid.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 28, 2019
After falling behind, Real Madrid couldn’t find it in themselves to come up with a proper response and found themselves two goals down with 20 minutes still to play. Suarez — who scored Barcelona’s first — then converted from the spot to book Barcelona’s place in the final.
Season Over for Real Madrid
For Real Madrid, last night’s match against Barcelona was a make or break fixture. They find themselves third in La Liga, 9 points adrift of toppers Barcelona, with virtually no hope for a turnaround. In the Champions League, they were thoroughly outplayed by Ajax in the first leg of their last-16 tie and will have to fight tooth and nails to get the better of them in the second leg.
The embarrassing 3-0 home defeat is bound to take its toll on players, and it would be interesting to see if they can come up with a fitting answer when they take on Barcelona — once again at the Bernabeu — in La Liga on Saturday night.
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