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Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona: Match Review



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid hosted Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday night with a chance worth its weight in gold. The Catalans have historically dominated the Spanish Cup, but the Merengues had the chance to inflict serious damage and take a healthy lead in the first leg of the semifinal on the night.

Barcelona were missing some of their best players in Madrid. With the crowd behind his back, Ancelotti went all out in an offence-oriented lineup to make the most of his chance.

Thibaut Courtois started in goal, and the duo of Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger played in central defence. At left-back, Nacho Fernandez took over the duties while Daniel Carvajal played at right-back.

Aurelien Tchouameni stayed on the bench against the Catalans, and it was Eduardo Camavinga who played as the defensive midfielder. Completing the midfield with him were Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

Karim Benzema played as the centre-forward with Vinicius Jr, as always, deployed on his left. The lineup was completed by Federico Valverde on the right wing.

The hosts started the game brightly with the proceedings completely skewed in their favour. Until the ten-minute mark, Barcelona were suppressed beyond imagination and a big scoreline seemed incoming in the Galacticos’ favour.

Twelve minutes into the game, Karim Benzema had the ball at the back of the net after a phenomenal piece of hold-up play. The Frenchman controlled the ball with ridiculous ease, made space and volleyed it past Ter Stegen only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.

The game seemingly got more balanced in the period that followed, although it was still Ancelotti’s side with the better chances to score. However, it was all undone by a sloppy spell of 30 seconds.

Eduardo Camavinga gave the ball away straight to the legs of Gavi, who set Kessie up in front of the goal. Courtois saved the Ivorian’s initial effort but the rebound bounced off Eder Militao and Nacho before striking the net. Barcelona had the lead, against the run of play.

An element of panic set into Real Madrid’s game soon after, as they began making impulsive challenges and pushing forward. At the same time, the mistakes in defence grew and the hosts got increasingly sloppy.

Ancelotti’s men had a big chance to equalise in the 41st minute when Kroos’ accurate cross found Carvajal’s well-timed run in the box. However, the defender could not apply the required finish.

It was Barcelona that entered halftime as the happier team, but not as the better one. Yet, it was very clear that Real Madrid had to step up their game against a wounded and struggling Barcelona.

The Merengues got off to a lively start in the second half with the opening plays almost completely restricted to the Barcelona half. Fede Valverde played in a splendid cutback for Vinicius but Araujo’s block denied the Brazilian.

Real Madrid pushed hard in the period to follow, choking the Catalans in their own area. Wave after wave of attack from Ancelotti’s side and Barcelona were pushed very deep into their area.

Rodrygo came on for Nacho after the hour mark.

Barcelona almost made it two in the 71st minute, and Real Madrid only have Ansu Fati to thank for blocking his own teammate’s shit from going in. Three minutes later, Aurelien Tchouameni came on for Toni Kroos.

Real Madrid dominated the possession and chances in the minutes to come but could not overcome the Catalan block. Alvaro Rodrigues came on for Luka Modric. Rodrygo’s long-range shot went just wide in the dying minutes.

An equaliser was not meant to be for Ancelotti’s men at the Bernabeu as they fell to a relatively weak Barcelona in an unforgivable fashion. They head into the away leg with a one-goal deficit but play Barcelona one more time before the second half of the cup tie.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid have made Man City defensive target a top priority for the summer



Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Although Antonio Rudiger has had success since joining Real Madrid last summer, the club are in need of more depth and players that can form the backbone of the defensive unit in the years to come.

As part of their plans, Real Madrid are prioritising a move for Josko Gvardiol in the coming summer, reports 90 Min.

The outlet suggests Gvardiol will be one of the most wanted prospects in the market, with both Real Madrid and Manchester City eyeing a move for the Croatian international come the end of the season.

Formerly of Dinamo Zagreb, Gvardiol has enjoyed immense success since his move to the Bundesliga in 2021. He has impressed onlookers with his skill, organisation and discipline, which, coupled with his versatility, make him an appealing target for any European giant.

Gvardiol was also one of the top performers at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, helping Croatia finish third in the competition. His performances have not gone unnoticed, with Real Madrid among the clubs who have been keeping an eye on the defender for a while now.

However, signing Gvardiol will be a tricky task for Los Blancos. The player still has a long-term contract at Leipzig and could cost up to €85 million, as reported by 90 Min. Not to mention, the competition from Man City could be significant.

Real Madrid have no shortage of alternatives, though, with the club notably closely monitoring Portuguese defensive whizkid Antonio Silva, among others. So it will be interesting to see how the Spanish giants approach the market in this coming summer.

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