Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona – 02/03/2023
The Santiago Bernabeu is the stage for the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final showdown between arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona on Thursday.
The winner of the tie will face the victor of the other semi-final between Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao at Seville’s Estadio La Cartuja on May 6.
— Real Madrid C.F. ???? (@realmadriden) February 28, 2023
With first-placed Barcelona leading second-placed Real Madrid by seven points in the La Liga table, Thursday’s clash is destined to be a close-fought battle.
Real Madrid head into the first leg on the back of a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid, with teenager Alvaro coming off the bench to rescue a draw for Los Blancos.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men have now avoided defeat in each of their last six outings across all competitions and have only lost one of their previous 12.
Funnily enough, Real Madrid also beat Atletico to reach the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, following victories over Cacereno and Villarreal in the early rounds.
Having lost just one of their past six Copa del Rey encounters, Los Blancos will be confident of avoiding defeat on Thursday.
As for Barcelona, they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Almeria last time out – despite racking up 73% possession and 13 shots away from home.
That was only Barca’s second league defeat of the season, with 19 wins and two draws helping them open up a seven-point lead at the summit of the La Liga table.
Xavi’s side kicked off their Copa del Rey campaign with an extra-time victory over Intercity before dispatching Ceuta and Real Sociedad to reach the last four.
Given that Barcelona have scored over 1.5 goals in each of their last four Copa del Rey away outings, they should be able to keep pace with Real Madrid.
Head-to-head: It is worth noting that Barca have only managed to win one of their previous six Copa del Rey meetings with Los Blancos.
That said, Xavi’s men have lost just one of their last four matches against Real Madrid in all competitions – winning two of their previous three.
Team news: Real Madrid will be without the injured duo of Rodrygo and David Alaba for the first leg, while Ferland Mendy is a doubt.
On the flip side, Barcelona’s injury list contains four key players – Robert Lewandowski, Ansu Fati, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele.
Given that each of the last seven meetings between Real Madrid and Barcelona have produced over 2.5 goals, we should see plenty of action on Thursday.
Forebet predicts that Real Madrid and Barcelona will play out high-scoring draw, with both teams netting over 1.5 goals.