Barcelona seemingly have one hand on the La Liga trophy following Saturday’s 4-0 demolition of Elche and carry a 1-0 advantage into this Copa del rey (CDR) semi-final second league against fierce rivals Real Madrid. While a draw would be enough to see them advance into May’s final, only one of the last ten H2Hs level after 90 minutes (W4, L5) so it appears there’s still plenty work for Xavi’s side to do.
As the last-gasp 2-1 league win here last month was their first home H2H victory since October 2018 (D2, L2), Barca can ill afford to rest their laurels as they seek to reach a record 43rd final. But after keeping three consecutive CDR clean sheets anywhere, and going unbeaten here since October (W7, D2), they’ll start as deserved favourites for the 254th competitive edition of ‘El Clasico’.
ALSO READ: As Roma FC’s Best Players of All Time: Famous Players Who Helped Shape the Club’s History
Madrid, for whom defeat here would level up the all-time competitive H2H at 101 wins apiece, will have less recovery time than their rivals but manager Carlo Ancelotti claimed “there’s no advantage”. The Madrid boss was at least able to rest some of his players for their comprehensive 6-0 thrashing of Valladolid on Sunday which cut Barcelona’s league lead back to 12 points.
Playing away from home has been more of a problem for Los Blancos as they seek to avoid going three competitive road games without a win (D1, L1). More encouraging, Madrid won both CDR away games this term by a single-goal margin, a repeat of which would force extra-time, something they might welcome after winning the last four H2Hs in which another period was necessary.
Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski scored in each half against Elche having also bagged a brace in this competition against Ceuta. Both he and Madrid’s Harim Benzema scored in January’s Supercopa final (Barcelona 3, Madrid 1) and the Frenchman netted a first-half hat-trick at the weekend against Valladolid, with his first and third goal separated by just six minutes and 30 seconds.
Both teams scored in each of the last ten CDR H2Hs held at Camp Nou (Barcelona: W4, D3, L3).
Subscribe to this blog and follow us on facebook