Copa Del Rey’s El Classico Matchup
The famous “el Classico” matchup claimed a huge spotlight in the world as the two
giants met in the semifinal of the Copa del Rey. The result of the first leg in the Camp
Nou was a intriguing 1-1 draw. Santiago Solari’s Real Madrid side definitely had one
of their best performances this season. This match was a massive improvement
from their first encounter, with Barcelona defeating Real Madrid 5-1.
This el Classico matchup saw Keylor Navas return as keeper for the merengues and
the Costa Rican showed his importance offering assistance to his defensive four.
Sergio Ramos did exceptionally well covering Luis Suarez. Luis Suarez was the
central focus for the Blaugrana alongside Malcolm. Whenever Ramos found himself
out of position Varane was found covering the space when needed. Ramos and
Varane were indeed “firing on all cylinders,” Navas was called to save shots from
Coutinho and Malcolm.
Benzema did a good job leading the team from the front and despite having a
personally quiet evening the French forward did assist the goal that was scored by
Vazquez. The Madrid midfield, Kroos and Llorente, also did well to support the
attacking trio but to also support the defense by covering the spaces in between
Saurez and Malcolm.
Barcelona during this match saw Malcolm enjoy a rather thrilling match going
forward along with Pique holding the defense. Malcolm linked well with Semedo on
the right flank. Malcolm also was able to create three solid goal-scoring
opportunities from his 57 touches, of which he scored Barcelona’s tying goal.
Malcolm’s performance was a stark difference from Coutinho who played on the
opposite flank, having given possession up a handful of times. Gerard Pique was
solid in the back having to make six clearances, two crucial blocks, 60 passes and a
pass accuracy of 94.8%.
The 2 nd leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal will be played on the 27 th of February and
by then Barcelona will be competing in the Champions League and have a match
against Sevilla before their 2 nd leg in Madrid. The advantage going into the second
leg is mostly in favor of Real Madrid. The Merengues defeated Atletico in the Madrid
derby during the weekend have shown that their form has improved immensely
since their 5-1 defeat to Barcelona back on the 28 th of October. The fact that the
football community will be graced with at least four “el Classico” matches gives the
neutral the ultimate victory, just in entertainment value alone.
by Gio Franco