Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Jan SOLO

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Jan SOLO

Cristiano Ronaldo continues to add to his legend, after scoring two goals in the Copa Del Rey semi-finals against Barcelona. Jose Mourinho’s club defeated their archrivals at the Camp Nou 3-1 on Tuesday night, and 4-2 overall on aggregate to advance to the domestic cup final.

It is increasingly difficult to believe that the Seleção captain was once labeled a ‘big game flop’ by his critics. The Madeiran-born Portuguese international now has 9 goals in the last 9 El Classico against Barcelona. He has also scored in the last 6 matches in Barcelona.

The match began well for the home side, when Barcelona winger Pedro dribbled into the box and found Lionel Messi to the left of Real Madrid’s goalkeeper Diego Lopez. The Argentine’s shot however went wide of the goal. This was the closest the four-time Ballon D’Or winner would come.

From then on, Barcelona tried to play their typical style of monopolizing possession and find cracks in the opposing team’s defence. But on this night, Jose Mourinho’s club, perhaps taking a page from AC Milan the previous week defended well around the box and waited for their chances on the counterattack.

The Real Madrid attack was of course led by Ronaldo, whose flashes of speed and skill frustrated the Barcelona defence all night. In the 12th minute, Ronaldo found some room on the right side and ran with the ball into the box, only to be clearly fouled by Gerard Piqué.

Referee Alberto Undiano quickly pointed to the spot. Cristiano Ronaldo then stepped up and fired it into the left corner to give Los Blancos the lead. Barcelona’s response was poor. Too often did Blaugrana put together a series of passes only to be ultimately stymied by the Real Madrid defence.

The match went into half-time in Barcelona with Real Madrid up 2-1 on aggregate. Portuguese left-back Fabio Coentrao had a terrific chance to score early in the second half through a pass from Xabi Alonso. But the former Benfica defender could only manage a weak shot that was easily handled by goalkeeper Jose Pinto.

It was Barcelona, however that managed the best opportunities in the opening minutes of the second half. But they could not capitalize which would ultimately prove very costly.

In the 57th minute, Sami Khedira delivered an excellent pass to former Benfica midfielder Angel di Maria to the right of the Barcelona goal. The Argintinian ran into the box and fired a hard shot on goal that was deflected by Pinto into the direction of the most dangerous man on the field, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese superstar fired the shot past Pinto and Jordi Alba for the crucial second away goal. Real Madrid never took their foot off the pedal after that. Defender Raphaël Varane would score with his head off a corner 10 minutes later to assure there was no going back.

Jordi Alba’s late goal for Barcelona meant nothing as Real Madrid deservedly earn their place in the Copa Del Rey final. They will find out who they will be playing when Atletico Madrid faces Sevilla in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday. The final is scheduled for May 17th.

Portuguese international Pepe was expected to start the match but reportedly picked up an injury in the warm-up and was not fit to start. Though he came in as a substitute in the 78th minute for Mesut Ozil. Fabio Coentrao played the full 90 minutes and continued his streak of excellent form for his club team.

The two clubs will face one another again at the Camp Nou on Saturday in a meaningless La Liga match. Barcelona are firmly ahead in the domestic league. Though Jose Mourinho’s side will take solace in the fact that they could still salvage something from what has so far been a disappointing campaign.

Real Madrid will look forward to the second leg of their Champions League match-up against Manchester United. The match will be Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford where his legend first began.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s