Barcelona pulled off a major victory, leaving the Santiago Bernabeu with a goal lead going into the Copa Del Rey semifinal second leg. The game’s outcome was determined by a mix-up that occurred in the 25th minute.
Barcelona launched a lethal counterattack as a misplaced pass in the midfield allowed the young Spanish attacker Ferran Torres to slip the ball in Franck Kessie’s path whose shot was initially saved but a deflection from Militao changed the course of the ball as it rolled in the back of the net.
The hosts had a fair share of opportunities to level the score in the first half. However, each moment was dealt with agitation rather than composure. Toni Kroos executed a cross over the head of the entire Barcelona defensive line-up to find the veteran Spanish right-back. The 31-year-old defender snapped when the opportunity came to him and ended up blasting the ball into the stands from a distance of 10 yards.
The second half showcased a similar story. Real Madrid continued to dominate the possession while the visitors waited for an opening to strike the final nail in the coffin. Their patience was finally rewarded in the 72nd minute as Ferran Torres sprinted to the byline and made a cutback pass to find Kessie. With acres of space in the box, Kessie chose his spot, and fired a shot, only to be denied by his own player Ansu Fati rather than Thibaut Courtois.
Barcelona’s manager Xavi had a mixed reaction to this game’s result. In the post-match conference, he said that: “I am satisfied with the result, but not with our match. We can’t let our rival take the ball away from us. We have an advantage for the second leg, but we still have to compete very well. I think Real Madrid are very strong, and I still see them as the favourites.”