REPORT | 02/03/2019 | Alberto NavarroThe Whites came unstuck in tonight's LaLiga Clásico, their focus now turns to the Champions League tie with Ajax.
- Copa del Rey
- Semi-final (Second leg)
As the minutes went by the best chance of the first half soon came around. On 23’, Vinicius Jr. hurtled down the wing to put the ball at Benzema's feet, he then rolled it to Modric, who took a shot in the box. Piqué was on hand to clear it off the goal line. Three minutes later, Barcelona went ahead after Rakitic's pinpoint accuracy got the better of Courtois. It was time for Real Madrid to fight back, and they had the chance to go into the dressing room on an even keel, but Reguilón's shot from outside the box on 32’ ballooned wide and Modric's subsequent header from Carvajal's pass, which was also headed, went over the crossbar just as the whistle went for half-time.
Real Madrid upped a gear after the restart as they fashioned a clear-cut opening that saw Vinicius Jr.'s 56th-minute effort kept out by Ter Stegen. Two minutes later, Carvajal met a Jordi Alba cross and his attempted clearance almost ended up in the back of his own net. The game had now become an end-to-end affair and chances came and went at both ends. Reguilón regained possession in the visitors' box in the 60th minute and fed Vinicius Jr., whose goal-bound effort was blocked by Lenglet's body.
Madrid fought to the last
The minutes ticked away and Real Madrid continued to show their intent to keep plugging away until the final whistle. The hosts were penning the visitors, who looked to break away on the counter, deeper and deeper into their box. Benzema unleashed a shot from the edge of the area in the 87th minute that drew the best out of Ter Stegen, whilst Varane came close to heading home an injury-time equaliser from within the six-yard box. Attentions now turn to Tuesday night's Champions League last 16 return-leg clash against Ajax.