Friday, March 3, 2023

Coup de Roy: In the first leg of the semifinals, Barcelona defeats Real Madrid 1-0

Copa del Rey: Barcelona earn gutsy 1-0 win at Real Madrid in semi-final first leg


MADRID: In a tense Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on Thursday, tenacious Barcelona outmatched bitter rival Real Madrid and won 1-0.

After Real center back Eder Militao scored an own goal in the first half, the visitors managed to overcome the absence of important players like Robert Lewandowski, Pedri, and Ousmane Dembele because of injuries.

After arriving in the Spanish capital under pressure after being eliminated from the Europa League and losing to lowly Almeria to end a seven-game LaLiga winning streak, Barca received the much-needed victory.

"We fought hard and competed at a high level, but we would have liked to have the ball more and control the game more. Even though they had the ball, they didn't make many chances. "The fact that we have an advantage going into the second leg is really important," Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets told TVE.

Real Madrid had a better start and dominated the first 15 minutes, but Barcelona started to turn things around when they took control of the midfield and played a great defensive game plan.

Karim Benzema was left alone up front, and Barca center back Ronald Araujo did a great job at right back neutralizing the danger posed by Vinicius Jr.

Before the hosts made the crucial error that gave Barca the victory, Real became enraged and argued profusely.

Eduardo Camavinga, a Madrid midfielder, gave Ferran Torres a back pass, and Torres reacted quickly to pass the ball to Franck Kessie.

His direct shot was saved, but it bounced off Militao and into the goal.

The VAR replay showed that Kessie was fractionally onside, so the goal stood despite the assistant referee's signal of offside.

In the second half, Barcelona forced Real Madrid into an even tighter situation, and despite the hosts' dominance of possession, they rarely threatened to equalize.

Despite having nearly 70 percent of possession in the second half, Real failed to make a single shot on goal. In the 71st minute, a Kessie shot that should have extended Barca's lead was stopped by Ansu Fati.

Real had the best chance with a late long-range strike from substitute Rodrygo that went just wide of the post.

On April 5, the teams will meet once more in Barcelona, with the winner facing Athletic Bilbao or Osasuna in the final.

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