Wednesday, 30 January 2013

El Classico - Copa de Rey Semifinal at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

Real Madrid and its fierce rival Barcelona played out to an electrifying 1-1 draw in their Copa del Rey semifinal. While Barcelona enjoyed the majority of the ball possession, the match grew in intensity with both teams counterattacking another at a rapid pace.  With Captain Madrid Iker Casillas injured with a broken hand, Jose Mourinho named team star Cristiano Ronaldo as captain.  The scoring opened with none other than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi intercepting a clearance and setting up Cesc Fabregas in the 50th minute. 19-year-old Raphael Varane closed an excellent game; heading an equalizer in the 81st. Madrid was able to suffocate Messi ending his prolific scoring streak in which he had found the back of the net in his previous 16 starts.

Madrid began the match attacking, and Gerard Pique fouled a charging Ronaldo in the first minute to concede a free kick. Barcelona then began to come into the game and its first chance came from a pass by Andres Iniesta that Joredi Alba ran onto, beating the offside trap, but he shot wide of the far post. Followed by Xavi Hernandez striking a free kick that hit the crossbar in the 21st.  The second half also began with Madrid attacking, but Karim Benzema shot was too high.  Madrid coach Jose Mourinho trying to revitalize his midfield brought on Luka Modric for Jose Callejon and his attack with Gonzalo Higuain substituting Benzema.  Madrid's were able to sustain pressure towards the end of the match as they were trying for a game winning goal but there attack was stopped when Dani Alves stopped Mesut Oezil's ball reaching Ronaldo in the 84th.

The second leg will be at the Camp Nou on Feb. 27.

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