Copa del Rey 2018-19: 3 reasons why Real Madrid lost to Barcelona in the semifinals
In front of a packed crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night, Real Madrid clashed with their arch-rivals Barcelona for a spot in the Copa del Rey final. The first leg of their encounter at Camp Nou had ended 1-1 thanks to goals from Malcom and Lucas Vazquez. Barcelona were hoping to win the Copa del Rey for the 5th consecutive time and avenge their 1-2 loss to Real Madrid when they met in the 2014 Copa del Rey final.
Santiago Solari made two changes to the squad that won 2-1 against Levante away from home. Keylor Navas came in for Thibaut Courtois while Nacho was replaced by Sergio Ramos. Barcelona were riding high after demolishing Sevilla 4-2, thanks to an incredible hattrick from Lionel Messi. Ernesto Valverde made some changes to the starting lineup as the out-of-form Coutinho was replaced by Ousmane Dembele. Sergi Roberto replaced Arturo Vidal in the right flank of the midfield and Lenglet replaced Samuel Umtiti.
Real Madrid completely dominated the first half of the game as they kept creating chances at regular intervals. The 18-year-old Vinicius Junior was once again the focal point of Real Madrid’s attacking plays and made life difficult for the Barcelona defenders. He combined with Sergio Reguilon on the left wing and regularly delivered crosses into the box which should have been converted.
Barcelona were very lucky to go into the second half without conceding a goal. In the second half, Barcelona made Real Madrid pay for their defensive high line as Suarez scored the opening goal after a good counter attacking run from Dembele. Varane was forced into a own goal by Suarez moments later and Casemiro gave a penalty which Suarez duly converted to give Barcelona a 3-0 victory. Here are the reasons for Real Madrid’s defeat:
1. Real Madrid’s lacklustre finishing
Without any doubt, this was one of the best El Clasico performances Real Madrid had put on in recent years but the 0-3 scoreline does not justify their effort. Real Madrid registered 14 shots and 4 shot on targets in the match but could not score even a single goal as they lacked the finishing touch inside the box.
The young Brazilian Vinicius Junior was simply unstoppable in the left flank but he missed two golden opportunities to open the scoring in the first half. In the 20th minute, he fired the ball over the post from close range after some good work from Karim Benzema. Moments later, he missed an open chance as he once again lacked the composure and put too much power into his shot. Benzema missed a relatively simple header and Real Madrid, despite all their efforts, went into the second half without a goal. Real Madrid badly need someone to step up and bury all the easy chances inside the box in the next El Clasico.