The Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey) is heading towards its most crucial matches, as we have reached the semi-finals of the competition. Real Madrid vs Barcelona is just one of the two pairs (Osasuna vs Athletic Bilbao is the other) which will compete both in Santiago Bernabeu and Camp Nou. These giants have met recently in the final of the Spanish Super Cup, when Barcelona prevailed over Real Madrid, beating them 3-1. This time, though, the stakes are higher because none of them won the trophy last year (Real Betis beat Valencia on penalties). Real Madrid will try to win its first trophy since 2013-2014. El Classico is here again for all the fans in the world, aiming for a top performance of both teams.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona
Date: Thursday, 2 March 2023
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Real Madrid couldn’t capitalise on all the excitement that the 2-5 against Liverpool at Anfield had created. Merengues stuck versus a 10-man Atletico Madrid at home on Saturday, making them unable to reduce the distance between them and Barcelona in La Liga standings. Despite all the top stars being unable to find the net against a very stable defence, Carlo Ancelotti was more than thrilled to see that the 18-year-old Alvaro Rodriguez raised to the occasion. Real continues to be second in La Liga, aiming only higher, in a season where all the major goals are still open.
For the Real Madrid vs Barcelona clash, the Italian coach can’t count on David Alaba, Rodrygo and Ferland Mendy. Alaba sustained a hamstring injury in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 round, meaning that he will be out for three or four weeks. Rodrygo had a glute problem in the same match, but he will be available at the weekend. Mendy’s thigh injury sidelined him since the late-January clash against Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona lost to last-placed Almeria 1-0 on Sunday and couldn’t take advantage of Real Madrid’s draw. This was the second negative result in a row, as Blaugrana lost to Manchester United at Old Trafford last week, meaning that they have been eliminated from the Europa League. Xavi’s European campaigns as the Barcelona head coach are very disappointing, as he failed twice to reach the last-16 of the Champions League, but also he hasn’t succeeded to be competitive even in the Europa League. In La Liga, the team is currently first, seven points in front of their fierce rivals, depending much on defence and the scoring abilities of Robert Lewandowski.
The Polish striker will be unavailable though against Real Madrid, as he sustained a hamstring injury during the weekend’s defeat. The Catalans are still without Pedri and Ousmane Dembele because of injury and neither is due back yet. Both of them have thigh issues but will be back in mid-March. There will be minor doubt in the situation of Ansu Fati regarding his bruised knee.
Real Madrid to Win or Draw and Both teams to Score @2.17
John Sampson is a sports writer and tipster who is passionate about football. He studied Political Sciences but his true love has always been sports, specifically football.
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