3 players who benefited from the El Clasico

FC Barcelona and Real Madrid tied 1-1 in the Copa del Rey semifinal first leg
FC Barcelona and Real Madrid tied 1-1 in the Copa del Rey semifinal first leg
Anant Jethalia

In an enthralling encounter between the two of the biggest clubs in the world, FC Barcelona drew at Camp Nou against Real Madrid in the semifinal of Copa Del Rey.

It was Lucas Vazquez who silenced the Cules in the Camp Nou in the sixth minute by giving Los Blancos the lead. In the first half, it was the away side who were dominating and creating dangerous chances from the counter while the Catalan outfit was struggling to efficiently use the possession with only Nelson Semedo and Malcom Oliviera showing intent to attack.

Things did change in the second half as Barcelona looked better on the ball and were attempting to create good goal-scoring opportunities. They were rewarded for their efforts in the 57th minute when a Malcom equalised for the Blaugrana.

While Lionel Messi's arrival on the pitch in the 63rd minute did make the Catalans more dangerous going forward, Madrid's defence stood tall and did not further concede. In the end, both the sides deservingly drew the game leaving it all to play for in the second leg of the semifinal at Santiago Bernabeu.

Without further ado, let's look at the three players who are the beneficiaries of the draw at the Camp Nou.

#3 Nelson Semedo (FC Barcelona)

Semedo put in a great shift
Semedo put in a great shift

Ever since his dream move to the Catalan giants in the summer of 2017, Semedo has been battling for the right-back spot in the starting eleven with Sergi Roberto. This season, however, he has been usually given the nod over Roberto at the right back position because of his improved performances and injuries to Roberto.

In the El Clasico, it was Semedo who started as the right back even though Roberto was available and he did not disappoint Valverde at all.

In a mediocre first half for Barcelona, only Semedo and Malcom were creating attacking opportunities for the team. Semedo was stellar for the whole game and even dealt with the menacing Vinicius brilliantly. As for his statistics, Semedo completed a whopping five tackles in the game, won 13 duels and had six successful dribble attempts.

All in all, Semedo put in an excellent performance against his team's biggest rivals and showed Valverde that he is ready to be the first choice right back at the club for many years to come.

#2 Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

Vinicius was menacing at the left flank
Vinicius was menacing at the left flank

The exciting 18-year-old Brazilian attacker moved to the Spanish capital for an enormous sum of â‚Ŧ61 million.

He was bought to fill the void left by the departed Cristiano Ronaldo in the near future. Nobody expected Vinicius Junior to be in the starting line-up but injuries and the poor form of Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio resulted in him getting a lot more opportunities with the first team.

In an otherwise disappointing season for Los Blancos, Vinicius, along with Benzema, has been one of the few players giving good attacking performances. As a result, he has been given the nod by Santiago Solari to start in his first ever El Clasico as a Madrid player and he did not disappoint his manager at all.

Starting as a left winger, Vinicius was extremely threatening on the counter especially in the first half. It was his work on the left flank that resulted in Real Madrid taking the lead in the sixth minute itself.

Even defensively, he tracked back to help a vulnerable Marcelo many times. As for his statistics, he had an impressive three key passes, won seven duels and even won one tackle for his team. Eventually, he was substituted for Bale in the 64th minute and after he came off, Madrid could not create many chances with Bale not having any notable impact.

To sum up, Vinicius once again showed the world that he is ready to be a starter for Real Madrid and this performance surely must have impressed Solari.

#1 Malcom (FC Barcelona)

Malcom scored the only goal for Barcelona
Malcom scored the only goal for Barcelona

The 21-year-old Malcom Oliveira was snatched by FC Barcelona under the noses of Roma as he signed for the Catalan giants for a reported â‚Ŧ41 million from the French club, Bordeaux.

While he has been fairly decent whenever given chances, he has rarely been given chances due to Messi and Ousmane Dembele already playing in the position he likes to play in: the right wing. Due to Dembele's injury and Messi's discomfort on his legs, Malcom started for the Blaugrana as the right winger in El Clasico. Outcome? He was arguably the best player on the pitch.

In a match where Barcelona players were mediocre and unable to create good attacking opportunities especially in the first half, Malcom and Semedo stood out for Barcelona. Malcom ran riots on the right wing and was constantly troubling a vulnerable Marcelo.

He was rewarded for his efforts as he equalised for Barcelona by scoring a well-taken goal in the 57th minute. As for the statistics, he had an impressive three key passes, four successful dribbles and won nine duels for his team.

To summarise, Malcom was probably the best player on the pitch and gave Barcelona something to fight for in the second leg. While he may still not be selected over Messi and Dembele on the right wing, this performance may be rewarded with more opportunities in this busy second half of the season.

Edited by Victor R. Lopez M.


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