Barcelona’s Quality Too Much for Real Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 27: Luis Suarez of Barcelona celebrates after scoring a goal during the Copa del Rey Semi Final second leg match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on February 27, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Whenever Barcelona and Real Madrid meet, the quality can be seen all throughout the field. Even the players that don’t have a world-famous name can dominate on any day. That leads to incredibly patterned games where each team takes turns controlling the game. With all that quality on the field, there are always going to be chances for both sides, with the winner the side that takes them.

Barcelona’s Quality Overwhelms Real Madrid

First Half

When the game started, Real Madrid came out firing, attacking Barcelona and trying to put the pressure on and, just as anyone would expect, they did it through two young players. The combination of 18-year-old Vinicius and 22-year-old Serio Reguilon has been the surprise of Madrid’s season. There has been plenty said about Vinicius and his quality, and it was on display against Barca, but it’s time to talk about Sergio Reguilon.

The 22-year-old player, who started the year at Real Madrid Castilla, has been lighting it up recently. He’s been much more disciplined defensively, which has kept him playing over Marcelo, but it was his offence on display in the first half. He was touching the ball past players, making important runs into wide positions and getting the right balls into the box to be attacked.

On multiple occasions in the first half, Regulon got in behind the Barcelona defence and to set up Vinicius. However, continuing the trend of his season, Vinicius failed to have the right touch at the right time. He forced a few saves from Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen, but he had a one-on-one blocked by Clement Lenglet and put a golden pull-back over the bar.

Those missed opportunities could always cost Madrid, but not when Barcelona are missing chances as well. Ousmane Dembele was the main creative force for them in the first half but, like Vinicius, he failed to have the quality when it was needed. Despite having the lion’s share of the possession, Barcelona created far fewer chances than Madrid, and when the half-time whistle sounded, Madrid were by far the happier side and going through on away goals.

Second Half

As the game resumed in the second half, the pattern of quality resumed with it. First, Real Madrid tried to put the pressure on but, when their attack was repelled, Barcelona were ready to strike. A lovely slipped through pass from Jordi Alba played Dembele in behind Madrid’s defence. He chopped it back perfectly to Luis Suarez, who blasted it into the bottom corner of the net.

The strike neutralized the away goal advantage and gave Barcelona a 2-1 edge on aggregate, but Real Madrid have far too much quality for Barcelona to even think about resting on the laurels. They came right back at them, with Vinicius leading the charge. The 18-year-old continued to put all of his qualities on display; blistering pace, and incredible quality.

Unfortunately for Los Blancos, he’s quite young and not great at decision-making yet, but he doesn’t have to be to put in a great cross for his young partner Reguilon, who aimed a great header at goal. However, Ter-Stegen was up to the task and palmed the ball wide.

Vinicius continued to create chances, but he failed to put the final touch on it. When Barcelona did attack, they were lethal. Dembele was slipped in again and this time played a ball across the ground that Raphael Varane put into his own net to double Barca’s lead.

That was not the nail in the coffin though; that came just three minutes later. Suarez went on a run into the box that forced Casemiro to stamp on his foot, earning a penalty. He dispatched the spot-kick with a lovely panenka to give Barcelona a 3-0 lead.

Takeaways

Real Madrid will rue the chances that they failed to finish in the first half of this game. They were the better side for the opening period, creating better chances but failing to convert them.

For Barcelona, there is nothing better than seeing Suarez play the way he did in this game. It wasn’t a great performance from Lionel Messi, but Suarez and Dembele carried the load instead. Plus, Barcelona got a great performance from their back-line and goalkeeper. Coming away from the Bernabeu with a clean sheet is always an accomplishment. Doing it on the way to a Copa Del Rey final is even better.

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