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.
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.
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.
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.
European champions Real Madrid welcome La Liga leaders Barcelona to the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal on Wednesday night.
The two iconic rivals played out a fascinating 1-1 draw in the first leg, at Camp Nou, and will do everything in their power to better that outcome, tonight, in the Spanish capital.
Real Madrid, due to their inconsistent patches this season, came into the tie as the underdogs. However, at Camp Nou, we saw a totally different Real Madrid in action. They were creating chances, defending religiously, and managed to outplay Barcelona in their own backyard. Lucas Vazquez drew first blood in the 6th minute to set the tempo, which Real Madrid maintained until the final whistle. Barcelona, thanks to a common Marcelo mistake, still got themselves back into the contest through Malcom’s firm strike in the second half.
He wasn't happy about words being taken out of context.
So, the 1-1 scoreline does seem like a decent one from Real Madrid’s perspective as they need a goalless draw or better to secure their place in the Copa del Rey final — their first since the 2013/14 campaign. However, considering how great Barcelona have been at the Santiago Bernabeu — without defeat at the Bernabeu since October 2014 — lately, the narrow margin hardly provides any protection.
This one is pretty much a no-brainer. The best player in La Liga and possibly the world, Lionel Messi needs to have a spotless game to help his side make it to the finals. Last weekend, the Argentine shrugged off injury concerns to score a decisive hat-trick in a 4-2 win at Sevilla. Tonight, he will once again be marked heavily and will have to put in a shift. But knowing just how capable the Barcelona skipper is, there is no reason for fans to be anxious. Lionel Messi has registered a whopping 33 goals and 18 assists in 32 appearances across all competitions this season and will fancy himself to add to his tally, tonight.
Following Cristiano Ronaldo‘s departure, the Welshman was supposed to emerge as Real Madrid’s most important, decisive player. Sadly, things haven’t been quite straightforward for the former Tottenham Hotspur ace. During his absence, Vinicius Junior made his way into the team and has managed to make himself an indispensable member of Santiago Solari’s squad. Having lost his place to an 18-year-old, the most expensive player in the squad has been acting out, landing the team in a complicated situation. The Welsh wizard is desperate for an opportunity to win his place back, and an emphatic performance against Real’s fiercest rivals could go a long way in helping his cause.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Messi, Suarez, Dembele
El Clasico is one of the most decorated and intense rivalries in the world. These two iconic sides have played out some fascinating fixtures over the years, and we expect nothing less tonight. Barcelona seem to be the more in-form team right now, but a desperate Real Madrid will not be an easy team to beat.
We predict Real Madrid to beat Barcelona on penalties.
Barcelona winger Malcom’s second-half strike secured a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid to leave the Copa del Rey semi-final evenly poised on Wednesday after the first leg at the Nou Camp.
Real went ahead through Lucas Vazquez in the sixth minute following a brilliant assist from Karim Benzema. Messi came off the Barca bench on 63 minutes but, despite plenty of threat, could not help his side find a winner. Malcom, who started in place of Lionel Messi, curled home in the 58th minute to pull Barcelona level in the high-profile clash.
Yes, this Clasico was disappointing. But does this result guarantee a good return match? With this draw 1-1, Barcelona will be forced to make a result in Santiago Bernabeu to obtain a qualification, and it is safe to bet that Valverde will field his first team to carry out this mission. And that’s all we ask. Because without a real offensive leader, the Blaugrana seemed lost. Upon entering the field in the 63rd minute, Lionel Messi took things in hand and could have scored twice (on a free kick, then from a shot in a closed corner, the 68th minute and 82nd minute. This result promises suspense for the return match, and Clasicos with intensity are often the best. Highly on February 27th!
Coutinho, the torture continues
It is now absolute transparent that Philippe Coutinho is not at his best. In the absence of Ousmane Dembele, it was Coutinho who accompanied Malcom and Suarez on the front of the attack of Barcelona. Positioned on the left side, the impact of the Brazilian international was totally erased by Real right-back Dani Carvajal. It must also be said that Coutinho did not do much to show himself. Author of an insipid first half, the former Liverpool player timidly tried to worry Navas thereafter, without much success. With this kind of performance from his counterpart, Dembele should quickly regain his position in the team upon his return from injury.
Vinicius shone in his first Clasico
In the first El Clasico of his football career, Vinicius Junior did not disappoint. Very striking on his left side, the Brazilian alternated between speed and technicality. In the origin of the Madrid goal, he distilled the centre that allowed Benzema to serve Lucas Vazquez (6th minute). Excluding some inaccuracies, he could, have done even better. However, he managed to show that he was a potential threat to be reckoned with. A Real rough diamond, Vinicius should continue to polish in a Madrid workforce where he finds more and more his place alongside Karim Benzema.
Ahead of the classic game, All the talk was over whether Lionel Messi would make it or not. The Argentine eventually appeared from the bench in the 63rd minute and this was the first time he has faced Madrid this season, having been injured for the 5-1 win over them here in October. Once he came on, Madrid played differently, knowing they had to limit the Argentine threat, and this will be a far greater indication of what the second leg will look like. Barcelona fans roared so loudly when Messi entered the fray it sounded like the team had scored, and to tell the truth, his presence is usually worth at least a goal. But without their talisman, Barcelona was a dull prospect all around the field. At that time Madrid’s backline also held pretty comfortably as the home side repeatedly fell short of an incisive final pass.
Marcelo, far from his best
Now relegated to the bench for the La Liga matches by Santiago Solari, Marcelo had not played a big game for a long time. On Wednesday, we understood why. Nelson Semedo and Malcom made a mouthful of the Brazilian, using speed and splitting for 75 minutes. All the hot chances of Barcelona were from Marcelo’s side in this match. From the 19th minute, when Malcom was on his back for a missed face-off against Keylor Navas, and until the 82nd minute, when Arturo Vidal served Nelson Semedo, and a dangerous strike from Lionel Messi, Marcelo was off-colour. In short, he did everything wrong in defence, and it was not better in the attack also. Renowned for his offensive impact, the lateral did not bring anything. Let’s hope Real that it is Sergio Reguilon who plays the return match.
If there is a football event that immobilizes the world of sports, it is the El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona, monopolizing the attention of more than 650 million viewers worldwide, proving that it is much more than just a football game.
When German striker Udo Steinberg scored the first two goals of Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Real Madrid on May 13, 1902, at the Hipodromo Stadium in Madrid he did not know he was writing the first chapter of one of the biggest rivalries in world football. The game with 2 thousand fans was for the semi-finals of the Coronation Cup (predecessor of the Copa Del Rey of Spain). More than a century later, Barcelona and Real Madrid, who face each other on Thursday at the same tournament, monopolize the attention of football fans. Spain is divided in front of this classic and nobody is indifferent.
The story begins
Barcelona was born first, on the initiative of the Swiss athlete Joan Gamper, who arrived on Spanish soil for professional reasons. Months later, Gamper put an ad in a sports magazine to invite all the foreign legion of the city, to be part of a new project. The plan on November 29th, 1899 was baptized with the name of Futbol Club Barcelona.
The city of Madrid would also have its equipment. In February 1900 the Madrid Football Club was constituted, and on 6th of March of 1902 is established officially like Real Madrid. By that time, both clubs played and did not go beyond the normal rivalry between the two teams. In fact, the first time they played officially in 1902, the Catalan team won in the semi-final of the Coronation Cup.
The first controversial transfer
Striker Josep Samitier Vilalta played an important role in the history between both teams. He is the third top scorer in the history of Barca (333), behind Paulino Alcantara (369), and Argentine Lionel Messi (404), current Blaugrana player. He was one of the great figures and emblem of the Catalan box in which he played for 17 years until he signed for Real Madrid in 1933. The event increased the hostility between the two clubs. With the political situation that surrounded, where a change in regime led to a civil war, the country went through a military dictatorship that reinforced the image of FC Barcelona as a figure of Catalan identity that opposed the Spanish government.
Political problems and 11-1
In the 1930s, the political situation in Spain became complicated after a regime change that would impose a military dictatorship. Barcelona would reinforce its image as a Catalan identity against the Spanish government that banned all languages except Castilian.
During the dictatorship, a Real Madrid vs Barcelona in the semifinal of the Copa del Rey would be played, the Catalans would win at home 3-0, in a match with insults in the stands against Real Madrid. The return, played in Madrid had the bulging Real Madrid victory 11-1, however, before the match, the Spanish army and police went to the dressing room of the Catalan team to intimidate them.
Fernando de Argila, Barcelona’s goalkeeper, said afterwards that the referee told him,
“Look how the stand is. We cannot allow something to happen here. You already know what you have to do.”
Help of Franco to Real Madrid
HIRING DI STEFANO
One of the greatest players in history, the Argentine was hired at the same time by Barcelona and Real Madrid. It was not clear which club was the owner of the South American footballer’s rights. The Spanish court ruled that for four years Di Stefano would play each one season in each club. Barcelona refused, considering the absurd decision, and the Argentine turned idol of Madrid.
CONSTRUCTION OF STADIUM
Santiago Bernabeu, a Francoist soldier, was president of the club at the time of the construction of the monumental stadium (Estadio Santiago Bernabeu) in the Spanish capital in 1947. The country lived a post-war period and Real Madrid was out of money. Even so, the work ended in less than three years, possibly with the help of the central government, done in a hidden way.
RELATIONSHIP WITH REFEREES
Finally, the rivalry still exposes what would be a rather suspicious relationship between the club and the football referees. The wives of the referees received gifts from Real Madrid. The growth of the Madrid club would be a project of Franco to become a propaganda agent of the regime in the rest of the world.
Impact of Johan Cruyff and Michael Laudrup
On February 17, 1974, Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid 0-5 in their own backyard. Johan Cruyff silenced the Bernabeu with his football being decisive of that historical marker. That Barca would win the League again 14 years later.
20 years after the win at the Bernabeu, Johan Cruyff would repeat another 5-0 as Barca coach. The coach changed the philosophy of the club by winning 4 consecutive leagues and the coveted European Cup in Wembley (1992). The “Manita” achieved in the 1993-1994 season was the culmination of a glorious stage with the benches.
A year and a day later, Real Madrid returned the “Manita” in 1994-95. Zamorano, Luis Enrique and Amavisca scored on a historic night that ended with Cruyff’s “Dream Team”. It was the first year of Michael Laudrup in white, who took revenge on his former team. The Whites recovered the League after 4 consecutive League wins of the Catalans.
Luis Enrique and the historic transfer of Luis Figo
In the summer of 1996, Luis Enrique signed with Barcelona. The Spaniard had not triumphed in the Real house but he managed perfectly with the Barca feeling. As soon as he arrived in Barcelona, he reneged on his Madrid past and was inflated to score goals against his ex-club.
Luis Figo took the opposite path in the year 2000. Florentino Perez reached an agreement with the captain of Barcelona and won the presidential elections of Real Madrid holding the Portuguese hand. The whites paid the clause of 60 million euros to get the star of their biggest rival. In October, Madrid visited Camp Nou and Figo received the “boo” of the century. The fans call him Judas, they threw tickets with his picture.
In 2002 Figo returned to the Camp Nou but this time he decided not to be impressed. The atmosphere was very hostile again and every time he got close to taking the corner, objects of all kinds rained down on him. Among them, a bottle of whiskey and a head of suckling pig. The game was interrupted for a few minutes but it resumed despite the hostility. The score of 0-0 was practically anecdotal.
The Present Era
Since the turn of the century, the two Spanish giants have won nine of the 17 Champions League titles. They’ve also soaked up all but three La Liga titles since 2001 as the duopoly sinks its hooks deeper into the coffers of Spanish soccer. As two of the dominant sides in Europe, Real and Barcelona have become destinations for the world’s greatest players. Since Figo’s transfer between the two El Clasico rivals in 2000, five of the past six latest world-record transfer fees in the new century have involved players either moving to or from a Spanish club.
There was nothing that guaranteed El Clasico would turn into the biggest rivalry game in the world. Most rivalries in soccer around the globe are predicated on proximity; Barcelona and Madrid are more than 300 miles apart. But they’ve both been good regularly, and at the same time, and that certainly helps build bad blood between two teams.
The combination of a long history of competition against one another, the politics that inevitably come to shape the evolution of particular clubs and fan bases and the fact that the two clubs have historically been perennial contenders have all played a role in developing the rivalry we now know as El Clasico. Keep that in mind when you see the two teams square away in the next edition of a legendary duel.
El Clasico has always been memorable for the quality of players on display. The likes of Di Stefano, Emilio Butrageuno, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldinho, and of modern times Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, have all graced Clasicos down the years. It is a shame, therefore, that the modern-day Clasico has often been overshadowed by play-acting and simulation from both sides. The soccer seems to have taken a back seat, with the amount of yellow and red cards being the more important statistic. But whilst these two great teams remain rivals, El Clasico, the second-most watched soccer match in the world, will continue to be a spectacle for all.