Barcelona stunned Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabéu to come away with a 1-0 win in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final.
Barcelona traveled to the Spanish capital as underdogs on the back of disappointing results against Manchester United in the Europa League and Almeria in La Liga. Meanwhile, Real Madrid thrashed Liverpool in the Champions League and came back from behind to grab a point against Atletico Madrid.
Further, Xavi’s men were without Robert Lewandowski, Pedri, and Ousmane Dembele for Thursday night’s clash. As such, not much was expected from Barcelona heading into the first of three El Clásico in less than six weeks.
But at the full-time whistle, it was the traveling support that cheered the loudest, as Barcelona became the first team in 11 months to beat Real Madrid at home.
Barcelona use Mourinho’s tactics to beat Real Madrid 1-0 in the Copa del Rey
Against the run of play, Franck Kessie forced an own goal from Éder Militão in the 26th minute after showing immense strength to keep the ball in his control despite being challenged by two Real Madrid defenders. His initial effort was saved by Thibaut Courtois but the ball then hit Militao and rolled past the goalkeeper.
Once Barcelona went ahead, they ceded territory and possession to grind out an important result. Despite having 35% possession, the Catalan outfit didn’t let Carlo Ancelotti’s side register a single shot on target. The tenacity the likes of Gavi and Ronald Araújo showed was commendable, to say the least.
A defensive masterclass that many typically expect from a side led by Jose Mourinho and not Pep Guardiola’s disciple.
But as always, the score-line at the end of the night is the most important thing. Barcelona have now won three of the last four El Clásico clashes and will be in the driving seat when the two sides meet again at Camp Nou in April to progress to the final of the Copa del Rey.