The first leg of the much anticipated Copa del rey clash between arch rivals, Barcelona and Real Madrid ended 1-1 at the Camp nou last night.
Real Madrid brought the game to life by taking an early lead after Vinicius Jnr did his home work at the left wing before sending a cross to Benzema, who controlled the ball well and laid an easy chance on the table for Lucas Vazquez to convert.
Real Madrid took charge of the game after going ahead, and could have easily had a second goal. Vinicius who chose to go solo, had his shot well blocked by Pique to keep Barça in the game.
Ernesto Valverde’s side, who were without Lionel Messi in the starting line up, had their first real chance at the half hour mark, when Ivan Rakitic’s lob could only hit the woodwork.
Second half saw Barcelona showing more purpose and character than Real. They were duly rewarded in the 57th minute when Malcom curled a shot past a confused Real Madrid defence into the back of the net.
Lots of chances went begging from second half substitutes, Alena and Gareth Bale for Barcelona and Real Madrid, but none were able to capitalize and give their sides vital advantage leading to the second leg.
The introduction of Lionel Messi also tilted the match to Barça’s advantage, but there was very little the unfit playmaker could do, as Real Madrid maintained their unbeaten record against Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey (now unbeaten in their last 5 Copa-Classico).
Either side can easily claim to be happy with the draw; Solari’s men will be having home side advantages in the second leg slated for 27th of February. Meanwhile, Valverde’s men will lay claim to the fact that they perform better at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, and they will be possessing a 100% fit Lionel Messi, in a bid to make another consecutive Copa Del Rey Final appearance.
The second Semifinal of the Copa, will be played this night (21:00 WAT), as the surging Real Betis play host to a Valencia.