An armored Barça, oblivious to their intimate ball, took the lead against Madrid in their first cupbearer turn. Real was left dry against Araujo’s team, standard bearer of a Barça that with the blackout of Pedri, Lewandowski and Dembélé took refuge in the ropes of Chamartín. An impeccable defensive exercise that prevented his rival from even splashing near Ter Stegen, who did not count a worthwhile save. His defensive squad covered him wonderfully. A Barça as countercultural as it is effective and competitive, even though the goal was scored by Militão inadvertently.
Courtois, Dani Carvajal, Rüdiger, Eder Militao, Nacho (Rodrygo, min. 66), Federico Valverde, Modric (Álvaro Rodríguez, min. 84), Vinicius Junior, Kroos (Aurelien Tchouameni, min. 73), Camavinga and Benzema
Ter Stegen, Koundé, Ronald Araújo, Alex Balde, Marcos Alonso, Kessié Franck (Sergi Roberto, min. 85), Frenkie De Jong, Busquets, Raphinha (Ansu Fati, min. 69), Ferrán Torres and Gavi
goals 0-1 min. 25: Eder Militao (pp).
Referee Jose Luis Munuera Montero
Yellow cards Vinicius Junior (min. 24), Raphinha (min. 44), Gavi (min. 50), Nacho (min. 55), Kessié Franck (min. 66), Federico Valverde (min. 72) and Hernández (min. 91 )
The local team – 65% possession – had plenty of nerve and lacked offensive acumen, limited to lateral centers, Vinicius enshrined by Araujo. There were white charges until the last blink, but everything was useless to an unordered Madrid. A Madrid with both rolling up their sleeves and blanks in the face of such an unexpected match plot. Another Barça, another football, the one that validated him against his infinite adversary. Barça was not Barça and Real was not Real. All very weird.
From the outset, the match turned out to be a very martial duel. Fighters on all sides. From gust to gust since De Jong and Vinicius left the grass for the tatami. They hooked up like two judokas and the Brazilian was charged with the card for his final key. Well they could both take it. Or none. The same thing happened after the break. A kindergarten between Gavi and Vinicius led to the condemnation of the Andalusian. In Spain carding is compulsive.
The play between Vinicius and De Jong put the Bernabéu on fire. Each assault—and there were many—left the staff on the verge of drowsiness. And in the middle of the caldera, Camavinga got lost and the pass towards his area was intercepted by Ferran, squeezed until then by the local defense. The Valencian connected with Kessié. Courtois’ clearance bounced off Militão and the ball slipped into the Madrid net. The VAR had to validate the position of the Ivorian. A Barca shot and visiting confetti.
Barça was burning with the ball, his usual livelihood. A day to forget about the model of yore, especially with so many low capitals. The absence of Pedri discolored Barça that seduces the ball. In Madrid, a Barça without pause, without crushes with the ball that naturalized him.
Without a Pedri, football is complicated when there is a joint and munificent opponent to encapsulate the rival. Xavi’s group suffocated. Modric arrested Busquets, like Kroos arrested De Jong. Kessié and Gavi, more legionnaires than subtle. On the right side, Araujo, a marine who has no Bolshoi feet, was quite busy disarming Vinicius helped by Rapinha. Madrid huddled against their adversary but lacking in finesse, despite Modric’s expansive staging. On the other shore, Valverde’s bugle. In full white shake Benzema scored, but out of place. The azulgrana, with Marcos Alonso as central for the ailing Christensen, on the scaffolding. A Barcelona night for the pick and shovel, piecework without his beloved ball. For Madrid, a demanding exercise in patience, which they lacked more than necessary in a game with so much fireworks. Restlessly, especially when away goals no longer have double value.
Vinicius bridled by Araujo, Ancelotti’s team had a hard time loitering inside the area. The attacks were closed on the periphery of Ter Stegen, more alerted than demanded. Barça was showered with one corner after another, but there was no rival to finish them off. The meeting was from Koundé, from Araujo, from Marcos Alonso. In addition, Real could shake everything, because Rapinha and Ferran, also in the trenches, did not stretch Xavi’s men. His starting point was set many blocks from Courtois.
So overcast were Xavi’s men that Ancelotti withdrew a winger —Nacho— to give thread to a striker —Rodrygo. Camavinga planted himself to the left of the rear guard, Valverde turned inside and Rodrygo put on his shoes as a winger on the right. Xavi intervened, and as soon as the attack was altered —Ansu as a striker, Ferran as a winger and Rapinha in the dark room— Barça had the 0-2 lead. This time the rebound favored Madrid. Ferran cited Kessié, whose shot was going to hit the net when Ansu intervened, savior white.
Álvaro also joined the Madrid brigade, since Real was going and going by air. But Barcelona cleared in bulk, well equipped, armored Ter Stegen that offers 0-1 in 1-0, and vice versa. Another Barça, the orphan of the ball. And a Madrid with more drums than explosives.
At the Camp Nou, on April 5, another uncertain classic to seal the second finalist. Nothing is closed. And in soccer, a one-month hiatus is an orbital journey.
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