2013 First El Clasico: Barcelona v Real Madrid Copa del Rey semifinals
Barcelona achieved an intriguing 2-4 win (4-6 in aggregate) against Malaga at La Rosaleda in the return leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. Pedro Rodriguez, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi scored the goals for the Blaugrana, who attempted 15 shots, nine of them on target and one that hit the post.
Despite having the better chances and a higher possession percentage (70%), the Catalans never really looked fully comfortable due to the high pressure Malaga applied across the whole pitch, working as a unit when dispossessed.
Barcelona did score early, but it was disappointing to see the team dropping the momentary advantage once again, proving how vulnerable the defence can be when players are not fully committed to closing spaces as tightly and quickly as possible.
Despite that fact, the Blaugrana players fought tirelessly to achieve a valuable win which keeps the Catalans’ hope of retaining the title alive. The players were absolutely correct to not let the guard down until the very last minute as the match really could have gone either way.
The most demanding fans will surely argue that the overall performance was far from perfect, but being able to come out victorious after such an intense battle away at one of the most passionate grounds in the competition can only be regarded as a success.
Either way, the match is now over and Barcelona qualified for the next round — which is certainly going to be an entertaining one.
Jordi Roura, who deputised for Tito Vilanova as interim manager while the first team coach had to return to New York to continue his fight towards full recovery, helped the team book their place in an incredibly exciting semifinal showdown against Real Madrid.
Yes, you read that right. To the delight of football lovers around the globe, Barcelona have now gifted fans with a mouth-watering double-header against their arch-rivals in the next round. Expect drama, sweat, blood and tears in what will surely become another thrilling chapter of the most ferocious rivalry in Spanish football.
Undoubtedly, it is an exciting prospect to look forward to, but let’s not forget about the present. Barcelona have managed to score 100 goals in just 34 matches since the season started, a clear indication of a job well done.
True, the club hasn’t won any titles yet but being in this privileged position at this stage is truly ideal and has definitely surpassed the most optimistic expectations so far.
May the positive results continue for many centuries to come.soccernet
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