Following a one-all draw in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey Semis, Real Madrid will now host Barcelona in the second leg of the semi-final at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on Wednesday. In the reverse fixture which was held at the Camp Nou stadium, Lucas Vazquez scored the opener in the sixth-minute following which Malcolm found the back of the net to equalise for the Catalan club.
Pressure is now mounting on the defending European champions Real Madrid, who recently suffered a 2-1 shock defeat at home to minnows Girona and scrambled a late victory against Levante on Sunday in a match which drew much controversy. The ‘Los Blancos’ have won this competition just once since 1993, and a win against Barcelona could potentially change their fortunes for the season to come. The Santiago Solari-led could still have a positive season if they go on to clinch the Copa Del Rey. They are also still in contention in the Champions League.
Barcelona are reaping the benefits of an underperforming Real Madrid in the league as they lead the table with a comfortable distance but Valverde and his men will aim to do a double in Spain by retaining the domestic cup title again this season – they have lifted the Copa Del Rey in each of the last four campaigns.
Lionel Messi and his team will head into this crucial tie at the wake of an impressive 4-2 victory over top-four rival Sevilla in the weekend. This match will also mark Valverde’s 100th match as Barca coach and will be eying the fourth trophy under his regime.
Head to head:
The fixture will mark the 240th El Clasico encounter. Real Madrid leads the head-to-head record with 95 wins to Barcelona’s 93. The remainder of 51 matches have ended in draws. The first leg of the fixture ended in a 1-1 draw and prior to that Madrid took on Barca in this competition in the final of the 2013-14 season and lifted the cup with a 2-1 victory.
Key Players: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Gareth Bale – could start from the bench- (Real Madrid), Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Recent form (all competitions):
Real Madrid – WDWWLW
Barcelona – DDDWDW
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Reguilon; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Vinicius, Benzema, Lucas
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Vidal, Busquets; Dembele, L Suarez, Messi
Prediction: Real Madrid 1, Barcelona 2.
Match starts on 28th February at 1:30 AM in India