Real Madrid and Barcelona produced an entertaining clash in the Copa del Rey semi-finals on Wednesday evening as the two teams drew 1-1 at the Nou Camp.
The visitors took the lead in only the sixth minute of the first-leg of the face-off as Lucas Vazquez scored from close range before Malcom, who was a threat all evening, equalised mid-way through the second-half with an emphatic finish to tee up what is surely going to be an encapsulating second-leg in Madrid.
Real claim early lead
Santiago Solari’s men started excellently in Catalonia and could have taken the lead as Toni Kroos was teed up by Vinicius Junior. The German forced a good stop out of Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
It did not take much longer for Los Blancos to hit the front though. Vinicius Junior’s cross was clipped into Karim Benzema at the far post and he expertly controlled and looked for options in the middle. Vazquez managed to wriggle away from his marker just at the right time to divert the ball into the Barcelona goal with an excellent finish.
Despite Barcelona’s poor start, they could well have been on level terms as Malcom was sent through by Luis Suarez. However, the Brazilian got his finish horrendously wrong to the relief of the Real defence.
Barcelona finally pose a threat
It took until mid-way through the first period for Ernesto Valverde’s troops to really cause problems. Malcom was again at the heart of one of their best chances as his excellent free-kick delivery picked out Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian nodded towards goal but was unfortunate to see his effort bounce off of the crossbar.
The winger then also teed up Suarez but the latter could not quite get the better of Keylor Navas with a low, curling shot.
Malcom continues to trouble Real
It took until mid-way through the second-half for the Blaugrana to get on level terms and it was predictably Malcom who was the man that managed to find the back of the net, albeit in a scruffy way. Jordi Alba was played through on goal by Clement Lenglet but was stopped in his tracks by Navas. The loose ball fell to Suarez who could only smack the upright with his effort. Malcom then picked up the ball in the area, took a second to gain his composure, shimmy past a challenge and then slam the ball into the back of the net.
With the visitors pushing for what would have been a hugely significant win at the Camp Nou, Gareth Bale was introduced and could well have earned a winner. Ter Stegen could only clear to Benzema and the striker played the ball into the Welshman. With the Barca goalkeeper scrambling to get back, Bale took far too long and slipped as he aimed for goal, stifling any opportunity for Real to find a winning goal.
Both teams really did go for broke at the Nou Camp. The two displayed plenty of attacking intent with the likes of Malcom, Suarez and Vinicius Junior shining particularly bright. Despite all of the goalmouth action, the game now heads into the second-leg at the Santiago Bernabeu delicately poised.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (6); Alba (7), Lenglet (7), Pique (6), Semedo (6); Arthur (7), Busquets (7), Rakitic (6) (Vidal (6), 63′); Coutinho (6) (Messi (6), 63′), Malcom (8) (Alena (N/A), 76′), Suarez (7).
Real Madrid: Navas (7); Marcelo (6), Ramos (6), Varane (7), Carvajal (6); Kroos (6), Llorente (6) (Casemiro (6), 64′), Modric (6); Vinicius Jr. (7) (Bale (6), 64′), Vazquez (7), Benzema (7).
Goals: Vazquez (6′), Semedo (43′)
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
Yellow Cards: Ramos (10′), Semedo (43′), Suarez (56′), Marcelo (57′), Alba (58′)
Red Cards: N/A