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Barcelona 0-4 Real Madrid: Match Review

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Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Xavi Hernandez did not go overboard with his lineup choice on the night, opting for the starting XI anticipated by many as Barcelona faced Real Madrid at Camp Nou.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen started in goal with Jules Kounde and Marcos Alonso deployed in central defence. Xavi’s anti-Vinicius plan was in place with Ronald Araujo at right-back and Alejandro Balde started once again on the left of defence.

It was the trio of Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Franck Kessie in midfield with Gavi deployed as a false left winger. Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha at centre-forward and right-wing completed the lineup.

The Catalans began the game strong in possession and inspired in the attack. A cross-field ball from Araujo to Balde stretched Real Madrid’s defence. The move in the second minute resulted in a great pass from Gavi setting Roberto free but Dani Carvajal was there to defend.

Barcelona continued to pile on the pressure in the opening period and created another big chance through Balde in the tenth minute. The youngster’s pull-back fell to Gavi who rerouted it to Roberto. The midfielder’s low shot was blocked by David Alaba. Four minutes later, his cross again set up Raphinha who could not beat Thibaut Courtois.

Tensions rose as the game progressed. The hosts dominated possession and chances were created with good passing sequences. Real Madrid, meanwhile, depended on the occasional counter and spells of attacks.

But the first half ended disastrously for the Catalans. It began with a wonderful combination play that ended in a big chance for Lewandowski in Real Madrid’s box. The Merengues’ counter, however, was too hot for Barcelona to handle.

Vinicius and Karim Benzema combined beautifully to open up Barcelona’s two-man defence before the youngster fired goalwards. Kounde attempted to clear the ball but could not keep it out.

Heading into the tunnel at half-time, Real Madrid could sense that a comeback was not too far while Barça had marred a special half with a moment of absent-mindedness.

Barcelona doubled the damage against them early in the second half by conceding a second goal and giving Los Blancos the lead on aggregate. It was Benzema who struck a lethal shot beyond Ter Stegen and there was not much the German could do about it.

The game went from bad to worse for the hosts when Kessie’s unnecessary challenge on Vinicius awarded Real Madrid a penalty. Benzema stepped up and slotted the ball home. Moments later, Rodrygo almost made it four.

Ansu Fati came on for Kessie at the hour mark. Lewandowski and Balde combined in the 67th minute but could not beat Courtois. Barcelona began slowly regaining control, but the situation in the game gave them no breathing space to digest the collapse.

Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia replaced Raphinha and Marcos Alonso.

With ten minutes to go, Real Madrid made it 4-0 through Benzema’s hat-trick goal. The Catalan defence fell apart and there was no way back for Xavi’s men.

The result brings Barcelona’s Copa del Rey campaign and domestic double hopes to a screeching halt. La Liga is the only trophy left to fight for this season, and Xavi must make it his top priority to gun down the title.

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