Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid : Now All Eyes Set On Santiago Bernabéu For Copa Del Rey Second Leg
It’s all square as Barcelona drew with Real Madrid 1-1 in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey semi final at the Camp Nou yesterday. Lucas Vazquez had scored in the sixth minute to put Real ahead, but Barca equalised in the 57th minute through Malcom to set up a thriller in Madrid a few weeks later.
Barca were the dominant team in the match with 57 percent ball-possession and had three shots on goal against Real’s two. However, they missed the talismanic Lionel Messi in the first half, who could not start in the match after he suffered a knock in the last league match against Valencia. They would meet again in the last week of February in the return leg at Santiago Bernabeu, and Real would fancy their chances of prevailing in the homematch.
3 Things We Learned As Barca Drew Against Real Madrid In First Leg Of Copa Del Rey Semi Final
1. Malcom and Nelson Semedo tormented Were Ruthless In the right flank.
The young pair of Nelson and Malcolm tormented the Real defence through the right flank repeatedly. Real’s left-back Marcelo had a difficult time in negotiating with the threat posed by them, and could not go into overlaps very frequently.
Semedo picked up from where he had left against Valencia last Saturday, and continued making his runs through the right-wing. He also exchanged passes with Malcolm frequently in order to make things difficult for the Real defenders.
It was only Malcolm’s 14th match for the Catalan giants, but he looked like a veteran while playing against the experienced Madrid defenders. He also scored Barcelona’s only goal in the second half by slotting the ball home from a very difficult angle after it has rebounded off the post. It was his third goal for Barcelona, and there should be many more to come.
He also earned a lot of free-kicks for Barcelona in the first half, as the Real defenders were forced to foul him when he tried to break away through the inside-right channel.Semedo and Malcolm’s speed posed a lot of questions to the Real defence and Malcolm’s Dribbling skills made things even more difficult for them. Had Messi played since the start of the match, Barca would have definitely been able to score more goals and thereby be in a stronger position.
2. Lucas Vazquez Was Outstanding, But The Youngster Vinicius jr Disappointed
Lucas Vazquez again proved his worth with a brilliant strike in the first half. He flicked the ball past Ter Stegen after receiving a cross from Karim Benzema. It was Vazquez’s Fifth goal of the season, and he has definitely been one of the most consistent performers for Real Madrid this season.
Real started with a front three of Vazquez, Benzema and Vinicius, and also introduced Gareth Bale as a substitute in the second half. However, Bale could not impress with his erratic performance, and Vinicius was hardly any better. He played some bad passes in and around the Barca penalty box, and could not do any justice to the hype surrounding him.
He would have to improve his touch in the final third and be more decisive in his approach. He has performed reasonably well for Real this season but will have to be more clinical in order to trouble a big team like Barca.
3. Barcelona’s Midfield Looked As Coutinho Failed Yet Again
Barca started with a 3-man midfield comprising of Sergio Busquets, Arthur Melo and Ivan Rakitic, but did not look threatening enough. Arturo Vidal came in as a substitute, but could not do enough to rejuvenate the Barca midfield. They lacked creativity and could not provide enough incisive passes to the forwards.
Barcelona’s midfield also lacked a player who could control the tempo of the game from the midfield. Xavi used to do it adroitly for them and allowed their forwards to reposition and organise themselves. However, the likes of Vidal and Arthur are primarily defensive players, and lack the finesse or creativity to make a big difference in the Barca Midfield.
Rakitic was not in a great form either, and could not contribute much to Barcelona’s Attack. Philippe Coutinho had to fall back to the midfield repeatedly and also took some shots from the edge of the penalty box, but those were not enough to trouble Keylor Navas,Madrid’s goalkeeper.