Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 1-0 on Thursday at the Santiago Bernabéu in the first of two legs of their Copa del Rey semifinal. The victory came as a surprise to some as Barça were without star players Robert Lewandowski, Pedri and Ousmane Dembélé.
Last Sunday, Almería defeated Barcelona 1-0 in LaLiga for a shock result. Following back-to-back losses (the other to Manchester United) and with a less than ideal starting XI, Real Madrid seemed destined to win the first leg at home. That wasn’t the case, and it should’ve been a 2-0 win for Barcelona.
In the 72nd minute with Barcelona leading 1-0, Ansu Fati denied his fellow teammate from doubling the lead. Ferran Torres did a great job to pick out Franck Kessié in the Real Madrid box and the Ivorian midfielder was going to comfortably score.
Then this happened.
Ansu Fati block on Franck Kessié shot
Kessie nearly made it 2-0 for Barcelona but Ansu Fati couldn't get out of the way pic.twitter.com/JbbyiFxGTw— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 2, 2023
Franck Kessié couldn't believe Ansu Fati blocked his chance to make it 2-0 pic.twitter.com/m9QLkjtE3T— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 2, 2023
Ansu Fati blocks Kessie’s shot
— Barça Spaces (@BarcaSpaces) March 2, 2023
Fati is having a season to forget. The Spanish youngster only has three goals in 21 league appearances and hasn’t scored in LaLiga since October. He’s performed better in the Copa del Rey with two goals in four appearances, but this block on Kessié may as well count as a negative goal.
If Real Madrid come back to win in the second leg on April 5 this could be a huge moment in the overall tie.
Kessié was involved in Barcelona’s first goal. In the 26th minute Torres slipped a perfect ball through to Kessié who was in on goal. The Ivorian’s shot would deflect off Thibaut Courtois, then off Éder Militão and into the goal.
FRANK KESSIE OPENS THE SCORING FOR BARCELONA! pic.twitter.com/sdDyDtXg0J— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 2, 2023
Poor Kessié could’ve had two goals on Thursday but won’t get any on the stat sheet as the opener was given as a Militão own goal.
As for the rest of the game, Barcelona performed admirably in defense to frustrate Madrid and not allow any good looks. Los Blancos didn’t manage to get a single shot on target.
Thursday’s match was the first of THREE El Clásico games taking place in a span of 35 days. Real Madrid will travel to the Camp Nou on March 19 for a LaLiga showdown. After that these two face off again in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals on April 5 at the Camp Nou.