·6 April 2023
·6 April 2023
Barcelona crumbled at their own fortress to a ruthless Real Madrid performance late on Wednesday evening. The 4-0 result in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg speaks volumes about the game itself, but the scoreline could have well been 7-0 on the night.
The visitors were defensively unshaken, dominant as ever in the middle of the park and sharp in the final third. Everything about Real Madrid’s performance on the night was special, and the manner in which the game unfolded gave it a silver lining.
After the semi-final played in the spirit of a finale last night, the Merengues are pitted against Osasuna in a direct face-off for the title. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Real Madrid vs Barcelona.
There is an uncanny sense of confidence every time Real Madrid walk into a game chasing a lead. The men in white have a strange affinity to playing under pressure, for the manner in which they operate when pushed against the wall is incomparable with their form in routine league games.
It was this very characteristic of Real Madrid which guided them to the UEFA Champions League title last year. The men in white found themselves in challenging circumstances in every round, yet found a way to turn the tables around at every stage.
The theme continued this season in the European competition again at Anfield versus Liverpool. And Yesterday’s game once again reaffirmed Los Blancos’ title as the comeback kings under similar circumstances.
Last month, Carlo Ancelotti’s men fell to Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu in a narrow 1-0 result in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final. Heading to Camp Nou, they needed to fight in front of a Catalan crowd and score at least two goals. Given Barcelona’s defensive record this season, it was far from a simple task.
Yet, the way the Merengues orchestrated the game and played it to their advantage is beyond impressive. In no instant during the game was there tension on the Real Madrid players’ faces. They waited patiently for a chance to pounce on Barcelona while defending deep enough to prevent conceding a second.
When Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema found themselves with a half-chance towards the end of the first half, they took it with both hands. As the pressure built on Barça, they overstretched in attack and left spaces behind for the visitors’ attack to capitalise. The rest is history.
The difference makers (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Ancelotti has shaped the squad mentality into something special and capable of facing even the tallest of adversities. The lack of fear and the sheer composure of the team is truly remarkable.
Benzema joined an elite list of Real Madrid players to have scored a hat-trick at Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday night with a heroic show on the world’s biggest stage.
A lot has been said about the Frenchman’s lack of form this season. His goal tally has not been poor by any means but his inability to put away simple chances that he would have otherwise capitalised on was seen as a concern for the men in white.
Since the restart of club football after the international break, Benzema has scored six goals in just two games. His back-to-back hattricks involved spectacular goals and show that he still very much has it in his boots.
Benzema scored his first goal of the night in the 50th minute after Luka Modric squared him the ball outside the Barcelona box. With a clear sight of goal, the Frenchman struck a powerful shot that slid beyond a diving Marc-Andre ter Stegen to make it 2-0.
His second goal came from the penalty spot after Franck Kessie brought Vinicius Jr down in the area. For a striker of his calibre, converting the opportunity was a stroll in the garden.
It was in the 80th minute that Benzema completed his hattrick against Barcelona. Once again on a quick counter, Vini Jr took down the Barcelona defence and laid the ball for his captain. The Ballon d’Or winner made easy work of it, sending it over Ter Stegen and scoring the team’s fourth.
The Copa del Rey is a third-wheel competition after La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. Yet, while Real Madrid have done well in Europe and the Spanish League, their record in the Cup is far from impressive.
Los Blancos last won the competition in 2013-14. In the nine years since then, they have faced shocking eliminations or gone down fighting prematurely for a plethora of reasons.
Real Madrid have only won the competition 19 times in their history. Considering that Barcelona have done so 31 times, there is an imminent need to start making amends on that front.
Ancelotti’s men are now firm favourites to lift the trophy this year and put an end to the recent drought. They face Osasuna in the final next month in a tie that is tricky, but very conquerable.
Will this finally be the year that Los Blancos bring the Copa del Rey home? Was yesterday’s clash the one that decided Carlo Ancelotti’s continuity at Real Madrid? Only time will tell.