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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

First clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona for a place in the Copa del Rey final

The official blog returns on the night of the clash of the titans. Are you ready?

The tournament's last two champions face each other in the first-leg match of the semi-finals at the Bernabeu, where the Whites beat the Catalans this season in the return-leg of the Spanish Super Cup to take away the title

Only four teams are now in the running to win the Copa del Rey. Real Madrid and Barcelona go head to head tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first-leg match of the semi-final (21:00, Canal+ 1). It will be their fourth clash this season with the aim of getting a place in the final to be held on May 18. For the first time in history, the tournament's last two champions will face each other for the third edition in a row. In their clashes so far this season they have clocked up one win each and a draw. The Spanish Super Cup went to the Whites, and that's the example to follow in order to achieve their objective. The Bernabeu will no doubt help them achieve it in this next Clasico.
The Whites are among the four best teams in the Copa del Rey after overcoming Alcoyano, Celta and Valencia in the previous rounds. They've now reached the semi-finals where they face Barcelona for the sixth time in their history, having beaten them on three of the five previous occasions, including the last in 1993 when the Whites qualified for the final after also playing the first-leg at home. Mourinho will be counting on new keeper Diego Lopez for the first-leg match, but he won't be able to call up Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao or Di Maria. 
YearFirst-leg scoreSecond-leg scoreTie-breaker
1916Barcelona 2-1 Real MadridReal Madrid 4-1 BarcelonaReal Madrid 6-6 Barcelona
Real Madrid 4-2 Barcelona
1943Barcelona 3-0 Real MadridReal Madrid 11-1 Barcelona -
1954Real Madrid 1-0 BarcelonaBarcelona 3-1 Real Madrid -
1959Real Madrid 2-4 BarcelonaBarcelona 3-1 Real Madrid -
1993Real Madrid 1-1 BarcelonaBarcelona 1-2 Real Madrid -

This will be the fourth time the two teams face off this season, in which they've clearly been very evenly matched. Of the three matches that have taken place so far, each team has won one and there was a draw (2-2) in la Liga. It's worth pointing out that Real Madrid took the first title of the season, the Spanish Super Cup, after suffering a 3-2 score in the first-leg and coming back strong with a 2-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu. The stadium will no doubt once again play a key role to the team progressing to the final. 

The standout player in recent derbies has been Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward has scored in the three previous Copa del Rey matches against Barcelona, including the goal in the 2011 final that gave the Whites the title. He has scored seven goals in total in the last six matches against Barcelona and he has had an amazing start to 2013, scoring 10 goals in all competitions, making him the highest goal-scorer in the big European leagues.

SeasonMatchReal Madrid scorers
2010/11 (final)Barcelona 0-1 Real MadridCristiano Ronaldo (102')
2011/12 (quarter-finals first-leg)Real Madrid 
1-2 Barcelona
Cristiano Ronaldo (11')
2011/12 (quarter-finals second-leg)Barcelona 2-2 Real MadridCristiano Ronaldo (68') and Benzema (72')

Barcelona arrives to the Santiago Bernabeu unbeaten so far in the Copa del Rey after having overcome Alaves, Cordoba and Malanga in previous rounds. They defeated the Basque team 0-3 in Mendizorroza and 3-1 in the return-leg. They beat Cordoba 0-2 in the first-leg and later scored 5-0 in the Camp Nou, which is where they had their only draw in the tournament. That was to Malaga in the first leg of the quarter-finals but they secured their way to the semi-finals with a win at La Rosaleda (2-4).

Deputy manager Jordi Roura, who is substituting for Tito Vilanova while he is on leave, will be arriving with 19 players in the touring party, including Villa and Messi. The two are Barcelona's top goal-scorers in the tournament after having scored five and four goals 
Follow the match live @fcrealmadridup