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Spain - Copa del Rey
Copa del Rey
January 18, 2012
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: César Muñiz Fernández
• Attendance: 80000
Cristiano Ronaldo 11'
E. Abidal 77'
That's all for me, Luke Matthews tonight. Both sides head back to La Liga action at the weekend before next week's second-leg. However, the action doesn't end there. Goal.com will be sticking around to bring you all the reactions from our experts along with the opinions of Guardiola and Mourinho and the players present on the pitch tonight. Join us here: http://www.goal.com/en/live-update/509/el-clasico-live Good night people!
FULL-TIME! Barcelona defeat Real Madrid 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu. The home team went into half-time a goal to the good courtesy of Ronaldo's early strike yet second-half finishes from Puyol and Abidal give Barca the advantage heading into the second-leg. All still to play for though after what was another brilliant Clasico meeting.
90' + 2'
Should be a second yellow for Carvalho who lunges lately on Adriano. The referee plays the advantage yet does not bring play back. Poor decision in my opinion.
There will be three minutes of added time.
One minute to go and it looks unlikely that we will see another goal in this game, with both teams appearing as if they are settling for the result. Madrid look tired, Barcelona unwilling to risk committing men forward in the danger of being hit on the counter-attack.
Yellow Card Ricardo Carvalho
Carvalho is now on a yellow card for a professional foul on Messi who was sprinting into the Madrid half. Very poor challenge from the experienced centre-half who could have seen red there.
Xavi is now replaced by Thiago as Barcelona continue to do an expert job in closing the game down. What do Madrid have in the final four minutes plus stoppage time?
Madrid come forward with the ball falling to Ronaldo on the edge of the box. The attacker attempts a snapshot which is easily blocked by Pique. Ronaldo looked great in the first period yet he has been very quiet in the second.
Barcelona are now looking to see out the rest of the game in the hope of taking a lead back to Camp Nou. Adriano replaces Sanchez now. The winger has looked very lively tonight and was unlucky not to have scored in the first-half when his header hit the post.
Pepe has been replaced by Granero now. An attacking move from Mourinho yet the coach needs a goal here plus Pepe looked odds on to see another yellow card in this game.
Yellow Card Carles Puyol
That's only Abidal's second goal for Barcelona, his first coming last season against Athletic Bilbao. Massive goal for the visitors who look like they will continue their brilliant form against Madrid.
Goal Éric Abidal
2-1 BARCELONA! The Catalans are ahead and it's Abidal who nets - an unlikely source I think you will all admit. However, the goal is all down to the brilliance of Messi who plays one of the passes of the season - a lovely chipped ball to the onrushing Abidal, fooling the whole Madrid defence in the process. The French full-back keeps his cool to calmly slot it past Casillas from 12 yards out.
Just seen an incident from a few minutes ago where a grounded Messi had his hand stood on by Pepe. Looked intentional too. The Portuguese defender really is walking a disciplinary tightrope at the moment.
Barcelona are 50 games undefeated when Puyol is in their starting line-up. Their last defeat came in the Champions League in 2010 to Mourinho's Inter.
OFFSIDE BARCELONA. Sanchez is played through one-on-one with Casillas by Xabi yet the former Udinese man is half a yard offside. Could have been 2-1 Barcelona there.
Madrid are looking fairly tired now, having given so much in the first period. I guess chasing Barcelona round is pretty tiring so they should be let off.
BAD MISS FROM BUSQUETS! Xabi whips a lovely set-piece into the box, finding an unmarked Busquets who directs his header from six yards out over the crossbar. Big moment in this game that.
On Twitter, Ratim says that Pepe should work in movies, such is the impressive nature of his play acting. Cannot disagree with that to be honest. Keep tweeting your thoughts @LukasMaf.
Yellow Card José Callejón
Madrid have made two changes with Ozil and Callejon replacing Diarra and Higuain. Looks like the home side will switch to their usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
Oh my, Busquets is at it now. The Spanish international collides gently with his international team-mate, Xabi Alonso and then spends the next minute rolling around on the ground.
Pepe is rolling around on the ground again and in all honesty, it's pathetic. He claims Fabregas strikes him in the face yet there is no contact whatsoever. That kind of simulation is well worthy of a second yellow yet the referee chooses not to punish him.
Remember people, this is only the first-leg of this Copa del Rey quarter-final. We will be back at Camp Nou next week for the deciding encounter to see who moves into the semi-finals. Lots of niggly fouls being given away at the moment from both teams. Settle down guys...
This game is equally poised once. Barcelona have seen more of the ball yet as Madrid proved with Benzema's header a few minutes back, they are still a real threat in this encounter.
Yellow Card Fabio Coentrao
MADRID HIT THE POST! Altintop does well down the right before coming onto his left foot and pinging an inviting ball into the box. Benzema sends a bullet header towards goal, with the ball bouncing off the wrong side of the post.
You had to wonder how long we would have to wait unti Busquets earned a yellow card. The defensive midfielder takes too long to retreat after Madrid are awarded a free-kick and the referee books him for being a nuisance.
Yellow Card Busquets
Fabregas chips a wonderful ball into the box with Iniesta lurking. The playmaker volleys the ball from eight yards out yet Ramos somehow manages to divert the ball onto the bar. However, no corner given.
Momentum is most certainly with Barcelona now who are moving the ball around the pitch confidently. Yet to see a proper reaction from Mourinho's side who look a little shell-shocked to have conceded so early in the second half.
How will Madrid cope with being pegged back by their rivals? Psychologically you would think it will have a big effect on the home team, especially after what happened at the Bernabeu last month when Barcelona went on to win 3-1.
Goal Carles Puyol
1-1 BARCELONA EQUALISE THROUGH PUYOL! Xavi's corner is precise and met by a terrific diving header from the captain, leaving Casillas with no chance as the ball flies into the bottom corner. Pepe is the guilty party here, failing to pick up the veteran defender.
The away side are on the attack straight away as Fabregas moves down the wing before trying to find Sanchez at the near-post. The Chilean claims Xabi Alonso uses his hand before clearing the danger yet a penalty would have been extremely harsh.
Madrid get the second period underway here although the ball is given away almost instantly to Barcelona. You have to wonder what both coaches said to their men at the break.
We're minutes away from the second half here at the Bernabeu. Surely there will be no changes at the break from either side but who knows, especially when Mourinho is around. Few stats for you here. Barcelona have had five shots to Madrid's one, have made 404 passes to the home team's 163 and have enjoyed 70.8% per cent of possession compared to Madrid's 29.2%.
Ogugua Zelunjo on Twitter is confident Barcelona will not only equalise, but win this game tonight. Chris Auren seconds this, believing Barcelona have too much for Madrid. However, Martin Chisenga has no doubts whatsoever that the home team will hold out for the win while Israel Awe states that Barcelona will equalise yet Madrid will win 3-1. Keep your predictions and thoughts coming on Twitter @LukasMaf.
At present, Mourinho looks set to pick up only his second win against Barcelona since taking over Madrid in the summer of 2010. Still all to play for though in this game with what promises to be a pulsating 45 minutes of football still to play. Time for some of your thoughts on Twitter...
HALF-TIME! Madrid lead 1-0 at the break through Ronaldo's impressivbe strike after 11 minutes. As expected, it has been a highly entertaining game here at the Bernabeu. The home team have been defensive at times yet it appears to be working for them as Barca have been frustrated in their attempts for an equaliser. More of the same please.
Xabi Alonso launches a free-kick into the box which Benzema controls with his chest before going down with Pique in close proximity. Claims for a penalty? Not for me.
Madrid have the league but can they withstand constant pressure from Barcelona? History will show they can't. Still, Mourinho will be delighted with how the first-half is turning out.
Messi is ruled offside as he looks to break forward unmarked. Replays show Ramos is clearly playing him onside there. Not the first incorrect decision from this linesman who is having a poor game.
Madrid keep giving the ball away at the moment yet Barca are unable to get the better of the home side's back-line as Carvalho peforms a great tackle on Messi in the box.
Temp has dropped a little in recent minutes as we approach the half-time whistle. Over on Twitter, Shrestha Raj believes Barcelona will equalise before the break while John Perolski. Imatinib Mesylate and Yomi Abass are sure Madrid will score another.
Madrid players are going mental after a free-kick is given against Diarra for a foul on Busquets. Mourinho looks very unhappy with the decision yet the referee got it spot on there.
Brilliant anticipation from Casillas. Fabregas looks like he could be in on goal but the keeper is straight out of his area, performing an acrobatic diving header to clear the danger.
Barcelona are seeing more of the ball at the moment (where have he heard that before?) yet Madrid are looking lively on the counter-attack. What are your predictions for the half-time score? Let me know on Twitter @LukasMaf.
Worth noting that during that move from Barca, Carvalho was dragged all over the place by the movement of the visitor's attack. Rustiness from the veteran?
INIESTA SHOULD SCORE! Great build-up play from the visitors with Xavi sliding the ball to Sanchez who then plays in Iniesta. However, the World Cup winner can only thrash at the ball from 12 yards, screwing it horribly wide.
Time is flying by in this game as we approach the half hour mark. Madrid lead 1-0 courtesy of that Ronaldo goal but Barcelona are looking strong at the moment.
MESSI COMES CLOSE! Sanchez clips the ball into the path of the Argentine who attempts to beat Casillas at his near-post with a precise effort. However, the Spanish No.1 gets a strong hand to the ball, turning it around the post for a corner in the process.
Ronaldo uses his blistering pace to run past his marker. He attempts to slide the ball over to Benzema yet Abidal is on cue to block the through ball.
On Twitter, Awunganyi Sokolovsky believes Ronaldo would have scored that goal regardless of who was in goal for Barcelona. Do you agree?
Mourinho has a stonkingly good record in quarter-finals during his coaching career. In 14 attempts at this stage, no Mourinho side has ever been eliminated.
Madrid are certainly putting a lot of effort into this game but will they be able to play so intensely for 90 minutes?
Yellow Card Piqué
It's all kicking off now as Pique is the next man to earn a yellow card. Pepe goes down theatrically, claiming Pique elbowed him. Replays show there is contact yet not worthy of a red.
Very engaging game at the moment with both sides looking dangerous on the attack. Just to let you know, Pepe was booked a few minutes back. Will the former Porto man last 90 minutes?
Teasing ball into the box from Sanchez yet Pepe is on cue to perform a diving header to put it out for a corner - keeping it away from Messi in the process. The Argentine is yet to have a real impact on the game so far.
Yellow Card Pepe
SANCHEZ HITS THE POST! So unlucky for the away side as Fabregas' chipped ball into the box is met with a looping header from the Chilean international. So close from drawing his team level.
Great goal from the former Manchester United man but many will look towards Pinto's role in that goal who allowed the ball between his legs. Would Valdes have saved that one? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @LukasMaf.
So first blood to Madrid here with that great strike from Ronaldo. How will Barcelona respond? Remember, when the two sides met last month, the Catalan club came from a goal down.
Goal C. Ronaldo
1-0 MADRID! IT'S THAT MAN CRISTIANO RONALDO! Who said he doesn't perform in Clasicos? The Portuguese attacker receives a nice ball from Benzema yet he still has plenty to do as he approaches the area. He fools Pique with a clever step-over before slamming the ball low between the legs of Pinto. Top finish from a top, top player.
Mourinho's men enjoying a little more possession now although we are yet to have a shot on goal in this nicely-poised encounter.
Ronaldo has already started brightly and looks to be intent on proving his doubters wrong. Statistics in Clasico fixtures do not look good for the Portuguese attacker who only averages a goal against Barcelona every 301 minutes.
Nice passing move from Barca before Messi launches a wonderful 40 metre cross-field ball into the path of Iniesta. However, the playmaker is then unable to do the same for Fabregas who is lurking in the Madrid penalty area.
That's not something you will see every day. Ronaldo tracking back and performing a perfectly executed sliding challenge on Dani Alves. Sign of things to come?
No chances yet as Barcelona look to pass the ball around in the opening stages. Madrid however seem content to allow the Liga champions to have the ball, especially taking their defensive line-up into consideration.
Unsurprisingly the visitors maintain possession from kick-off for a minute or so before Fabregas is unable to retrieve a long ball, resulting in a goal-kick for Madrid.
Barcelona get us underway here in their traditional blue and red kits. Madrid of course are wearing their famous all white as they look for their first victory over their Catalan rivals this season.
Kick-off is only minutes away with both sets of players in the tunnel, raring to go. As usual for Clasicos, the atmosphere in the Bernabeu is electric with both sets of supporters desperate for victory tonight.
There is less drama coming from Barcelona quarters who opt for their strongest (and expected) XI to face their bitter rivals. Messi, Sanchez and Fabregas continue upfront while Pinto is in goal with Guardiola keeping to his word to play the 36-year-old in Copa del Rey fixtures.
The big news in terms of starting line-ups come from the Madrid camp with Carvalho making a surprise return to the team despite missing several months through knee and back injuries. Altintop is also an unfamiliar name at right-back while Pepe is picked to play the defensive midfield role. Mourinho completes a trio of surprises by picking both Benzema and Higuain.
Subs: Valdes, Mascherano, Thiago, Adriano, Sergi Roberto, Dos Santos, Cuenca
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Fabregas, Sanchez
Subs: Adan, Kaka, Ozil, Granero, Marcelo, Albiol, Callejon
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Casillas; Altintop, Carvalho, Ramos, Coentrao; Pepe, Xabi Alonso, Diarra; Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuain
SO HERE COME THE TEAMS...
Remember you can tweet me your thoughts on Twitter @LukasMaf and @goal_intl. I want to know your predictions for the game and your opinions on the slightly surprising team news which is to follow. Also, make sure you keep upto date with our other live updates which we have been bringing to you since 16.00 GMT here: http://www.goal.com/en/live-update/509/el-clasico-live
So the two giants of Spanish and European football meet once again. It was only last month that Barcelona came here, to the Bernabeu, and dismantled Real Madrid 3-1, despite going a goal courtesy of Benzema's strike after 23 seconds, the quickest goal in Clasico history. Tonight is a new day though and a new Clasico as Mourinho's men look to take an advantage to Camp Nou next week in their pursuit to retain their Copa del Rey trophy.
Roll up roll up roll up to the greatest show on earth! It's that time again, CLASICO TIME! Tonight the Santiago Bernabeu welcomes Barcelona for the Copa del Rey first-leg quarter-final and I, Luke Matthews will be guiding you through all the action on Goal.com. Is there any point in me introducing this game? Well in case their are any aliens reading this, I'll give it a go...
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