Barcelona rode their luck to down Real Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal at Santiago Bernabeu.
Eder Militao’s first-half own goal was enough for Xavi Hernandez’s side to eke out a win despite missing Robert Lewandowski, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele and coming off a surprising loss to Almeria over the weekend.
Madrid’s high-powered offence, which recently demolished Liverpool at Anfield, failed to find the target despite dominating the majority of the game.
It took just 6 minutes for Vinicius Jr to fire the first warning shot at Barca’s goal but his effort missed the mark by some distance.
Despite controlling the game, Madrid fell behind in the 26th minute when Thibaut Courtois saved Frank Kessi’s shot which hit Militao before nestling into the back of the net.
Dani Carvajal and Luka Modric then missed the targets with their efforts as Real went into halftime one goal down and looking for attacking inspiration.
The feisty first half ended with Vinicius Junior on a yellow card after a midfield tussle saw the Brazilian take Frenkie de Jong down in a headlock after a physical battle for the ball between the two.
The second period almost mirrored the first half with Madird wasting their chances to equalise and Barcelona hanging on.
Kessie almost doubled his side’s lead but his goal-bound effort in the 72nd minute hit his own teammate Ansu Fati before falling to safety.
Barcelona and Real Madrid will now face each other in La Liga on March 19th before playing the second leg of the Copa del Rey at Camp Nou on April 5.