Barca defeat Real Madrid in Copa Del Rey first leg


Barcelona have bounced back from back-to-back defeats to beat Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg.

An Eder Militao own goal separated the sides at the Bernabeu despite Real Madrid enjoying more possession and chances.

It is a welcome result for Barca after they lost to Manchester United in the Europa League and Almeria in La Liga.

Xavi’s side defended deep after taking the lead and their discipline earned a narrow advantage to take into the second leg at the Nou Camp on 5 April.

Barca are top of La Liga but Xavi’s side will have gone into the game feeling fragile after their elimination from Europe and a shock league defeat at the weekend.

The former midfielder made five changes to his starting team, including an entirely new back four.

The opening moment of noteworthy action was Vinicius Jr throwing Frenkie de Jong to the turf via a headlock, but it was the visitors who took the lead – and in farcical circumstances.

In Barca’s first attack of the game, Franck Kessie’s shot was saved by Thibaut Courtois but ricocheted back off Militao and rolled into the net.

His fellow centre-back Nacho attempted to clear the ball off the line but was unable to save his team-mate’s embarrassment.

It was initially ruled out for offside but stood after the video assistant referee indicated that, while Raphinha had moved early, he was not interfering with play and Kessie was level.

Barca’s defence has conceded just eight goals in 23 league matches this season and although there were extensive changes in personnel, the backline stood strong again on Thursday.

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