Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has believed his team will be strong in their Copa del Rey semi-final against Real Madrid, but he admitted Carlo Ancelotti’s side will be the favourites to reach the final.
Thursday’s first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal between Barcelona and Real Madrid ended in a 1-0 win for Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The match, as a whole, was marked by many fouls and discussions between the players and the referee, who had difficulties to control the spirits of the players on the ground. The match was refereed by Spaniard Jose Luis Munuera Montero.
“We have a certain advantage. We will have to compete very well [in the second leg at Camp Nou].” Xavi said in his press conference.
“We have defended well. The return home, with our fans, is positive. But I still see Real Madrid as favourites.” Xavi added.
The score was opened in the 26th minute of the first half, with an own goal by Brazilian Eder Militao. After a save by Courtois, the ball bounced off the defender and ended up in the back of the Madrid net.
Madrid came back with everything for the second half and created a lot of danger for goalkeeper Ter Stegen. Even so, the meringues were not very efficient and left gaps in the defense, which were well exploited by Barcelona in the counterattacks.
“Today they dominated us with the ball. We didn’t know how to find the solutions for their high blood pressure and we could have perfectly equalised. We won, but because we defended very well,” Xavi said.
The second leg of Copa del Ray will be played next month, with the winner making it to the final.
Barcelona returns to the ground this Sunday, for the 24th round of the Spanish Championship. The team will host Valencia, at Camp Nou.
While Real Madrid’s next match is against Real Betis, away from home, on Sunday.