Copa Del Rey semifinal 1st Leg: FC Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu!
FC Barcelona wins El Clasico at the Bernabeu once again, this time in the 1st leg of the Copa Del Rey semifinal. The game wasn't pretty but rather an aggressive one with lots of fouls and controversial moments. Barcelona wins without having three important players, Robert Lewandowski, Pedri, and Ousmane Dembele. The next leg will be played at Camp Nou, with these players expected to be back in the squad, fully healthy. Has Barca managed to win the tie already, or is there still much to play for?
Barca looked shaky at the start of the game and couldn't get out of their half. Luka Modric had a very early chance but hit the side netting instead. Madrid was threatening in the wings, with Vinicius Jr. causing some problems with his pace and dribbling.
In the 12th minute, Madrid would score with Benzema putting the ball in the back of the net. The goal didn't stand as Benzema was in an offside position. The play was good, though, with Vinicius putting a great ball into the box.
Slowly, Barca was finding a rhythm and would eventually start showing presence in Madrid`s half. The game would start dirty with a vicious shove by Vinicius toward Frenkie de Jong in the middle of the pitch. Vinicius grabs De Jong, pulls him down, and receives a yellow card.
Like almost all Clasico`s, there would be tension because of the history of the rivalry. The referee struggled to keep Madrid and the Bernabeu calm with his decision.
Eduardo Camavinga loses the ball, and Ferran Torres collects it and dribbles toward the goal. He finds Franck Kessie, who shoots, and, at first, the ball is saved by Courtois, but the rebound hits Eder Militao, which makes the ball go into the net.
It was 1-0 for Barca in the 26th minute due to a Militao own goal. The goal was first disallowed for offside, but VAR intervened and gave the goal as valid.
The game continued to be physical, and the crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu was getting more fed up with the referee for fouls on Madrid players.
In the 41st minute, Toni Kroos delivered a great ball to Carvajal, who volleys the ball over the bar. It was the best chance of the game for the men in white, but it wasn't on target.
Halftime arrived, and it was 0-1 for Barca. Barcelona was defending well and not allowing Benzema or Vinicius to create clear chances in the box. No shots were on target for Real Madrid, as Barca`s only shot on target led to the game's only goal.
The second half started with more of the same, with Madrid threatening the Barca box. In the 49th minute, Vinicius Jr runs towards the goal and attempts a shot on target, but the shot is blocked by Araujo, who slide tackles and leads the ball to go wide.
Gavi and Vinicius would push each other and have an altercation, leading to Gavi receiving a yellow, but Vinicius wasn't.
The game was aggressive, and neither team created a great chance for 20 minutes.
This would change in the 72nd because Barca was very close to the 2-0 when Kessie was in the box and shot the ball past Courtois. The problem was that substitute Ansu Fati was in the way and blocked the shot from going in. Kessie couldn't believe it because the ball would have gone in the net and given Barca a better goal advantage.
In the 89th minute, Madrid substitute, Rodrygo had a powerful shot that concerned Barca but was wide and still not on target.
There wasn't any threatening chance for Barca to worry about in the final minutes because of Madrid`s inconsistency with finishing chances. The game ends, and Barca holds onto an important win at the Bernabeu.
Real Madrid finished the game with 13 shots but 0 shots on target. Barca barely had possession throughout the whole game and only two shots on target but was effective with those chances, with one converted. Barca has a 1-0 lead going into Camp Nou, which fills them more confidence for the second leg. Barca also wins a game after two consecutive losses.
Real Madrid lost their first home game since their Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea in 2022.
Xavi Hernandez (FC Barcelona manager): "I'm satisfied with the result, but not with our match. We can't let our rival take the ball away from us."
Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid Manager): "We need to come back at the Camp Nou. We started well, and we ended well. They scored because of a silly mistake from us; a bad pass."