Karim Benzema struck a hat-trick as Real Madrid trounced arch-rivals and league leaders Barcelona 4-0 to book their place in the Copa del Rey final in a stunning manner at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Barcelona, who were aiming for a fourth consecutive Clasico victory this season, appeared to be on course for the final after a 1-0 win in the first leg of the semi-final at the Bernabeu last month. However, after dominating the early stages of the second leg, they fell apart in an unexpected manner, losing 4-1 on aggregate.
Following a lightning counter-attack, Vinicius Junior gave Real the lead in first-half stoppage time, and the semi-final was turned on its head five minutes later when Benzema stroked a shot into the corner from a Luka Modric pass.
Vinicius was fouled in the area eight minutes later, and Benzema thumped his penalty past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. Barcelona tried to respond to the jeers ringing around the Nou Camp, but it was Real Madrid who appeared to be the more likely to add to their tally, with Benzema unstoppable.
Vinicius set him up again in the 80th minute to complete his second hat-trick in as many days, having also scored a treble in Real Valladolid’s 6-0 demolition. After defeating Athletic Bilbao 2-1 on aggregate on Tuesday, Real will fancy their chances of winning the trophy for the 20th time when they face Osasuna in the final on 6 May.