Barcelona bounced out back from a bad week in the best way, handing El Clasico rivals Real Madrid their first home loss in nearly a year to take a 1-0 first leg advantage in the Copa del Rey semifinals.
Real had not lost at the Bernabeu since falling 3-2 to Chelsea in the Champions League quarterfinal second leg, and even that “loss” ended with Real moving onto the next round given the 3-1 win in a London-based first leg.
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Barcelona was bounced out of the UEFA Europa League by Manchester United last week and then fell to La Liga’s 15th-place side, Almeria, on Sunday. But an Eder Militao own goal prodded by one Franck Kessie was all Barca needed to take an advantage to Bernabeu on April 5.
Osasuna leads Athletic Bilbao 1-0 after a home win in their first leg.
Carlo Ancelotti saw his side dismantle Liverpool 5-2 at Anfield in the Champions League last week and they battled back to draw at home against 10-man Atletico Madrid in La Liga over the weekend. Real beat Barcelona 3-1 in the La Liga meeting between the two teams earlier this season but they currently sit seven points behind league leaders Barcelona.
Here’s everything you need for the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the second leg taking place at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, Apr. 5.
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Real Madrid vs Barcelona player ratings: Stars of the Show
Antonio Rudiger: The former Chelsea man was very, very good.
Sergio Busquets: The midfielders in this match were either classy in-form or in legendary status, but the ageless Spaniard added another fine Clasico to his resume.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: The ballplaying goalkeeper required by Barcelona’s reputation.
Jules Kounde: Barely put a foot wrong when he had the ball, including 11 clearances.
Franck Kessie: The tie might be over if he brought his finishing boots, though it’s worth noting the own goal he forced likely is a “big chance missed.”
Real Madrid vs Barcelona video highlights: Franck Kessie prods Real own goal
How to watch Real Madrid vs Barcelona live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 3pm ET, Thursday (March 2)
Updates: Stats and analysis via NBCSports.com
Online: Stream via ESPN+
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Veteran Luka Modric continues to defy logic with his displays in midfield, while Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema have been in fine form in attack. Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga have been superb in recent weeks too. Defensively Real are short of options but Nacho has filled in admirably at full back.
Barcelona continue to chop and change their team but they will be without top scorer Robert Lewandowski through injury for this clash. Gavi and Pedri are essential to how they play under Xavi but the latter is missing, which is a big blow too. A special shoutout to goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen as Barcelona’s defense has allowed just eight goals in 23 La Liga games so far this season. Eight.
Real Madrid team news, injuries, lineup options
Ferland Mendy is still out, while David Alaba injured his hamstring against Liverpool and won’t return until early April. Rodrygo is a doubt after a hip injury.
Barcelona team news, injuries, lineup options
Xavi is without a trio of key players as Robert Lewandowski, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele are all out. Ansu Fati is also a doubt so there’s a lot of pressure on Raphinha and Ferran Torres in attack.
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Barcelona wins first leg of Copa del Rey El Clasico semi over Real Madrid originally appeared on NBCSports.com