Real Madrid Thump Barcelona 4-0, Set Up Copa del Rey Final vs Osasuna After Benzema Hat-Trick
Karim Benzema netted a hat-trick for the second game in a row as Real Madrid clocked up an emphatic 4-0 victory over Barcelona at the Spotify camp Nou on Wednesday, propelling them to the Copa del Rey final versus Osasuna in May.
The 94,000 plus crowd were hushed as Benzema struck three times during the second half, with his treble following his feat from the previous game against Real Valladolid.
Vinicius Jr. opened the scoring just before the break, thus evening the aggregate after Barcelona's 1-0 in their initial Copa semi-final clash last month.
Barcelona had won the three last consecutive matches between the two teams and began the game well, despite lacking four of their important players, Andreas Christensen, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele due to injury. Although they moved the ball around with ease, they encountered difficulty when it came to making a goal in a game that almost spiraled out of control occasionally. Gavi and Vinicius had a brush with a physical altercation in the hot-headed first period.
Alejandro Balde was a menacing presence at left-back and his cross nearly started an opening goal. Sadly, Robert Lewandowski's shot was blocked by Thibaut Courtois, but 30 seconds later, Madrid was ahead. Vinicius gained possession and his shot, after receiving it from Benzema, managed to get past the goal-line, despite Jules Kounde's attempt to keep it out.
Real Madrid march into the final of the Spanish Super Cup after a convincing 4-1 victory over Barcelona at the . took the lead through Karim Benzema and though equalised early in the second half, Madrid dominated the remainder of the tie. Luka Modric set up a second Benzema strike, with the Frenchman then converting from the penalty spot to all but seal the victory. His third goal, which arrived shortly before the final whistle, was the icing on the cake. Madrid have a chance to end a nine-year wait for the trophy when they face Osasuna in the final in Seville.
Just ahead of the international break in LaLiga, Real Madrid suffered a defeat against Barcelona, leaving them now 12 points behind in the LaLiga table. This result means that the league title is almost certainly going to be heading back to Camp Nou for the first time since 2019. Despite this, it has kept the rivalry between these two sides relatively even, as it was beginning to appear to shift in Barca's favour.
Madrid kept their dreams of a cup double alive with Karim Benzema's hat-trick in their win over Barcelona. This was his first-ever hat-trick against Barcelona, and his second in four days, demonstrating Benzema is in top form ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal against Chelsea in the next stage. The French forward has now scored 25 goals in all competitions, and is supported by the brilliant Vinicius Junior - who joined Mohamed Salah as the only players from Europe's top five leagues with at least 20 goals and 10 assists in all competitions this season.
On Wednesday evening, Barcelona put in a performance that was worryingly reminiscent of some of their past European embarrassments, as they were defeated by rivals Real Madrid. The Catalan side conceded a goal on the brink of half-time, possibly damaging their chances of holding onto their first leg lead, and were then outplayed in the second period.
The Copa del Rey is not a major focus for Barcelona, who prioritise LaLiga. However, losing in such a way to Madrid -- and at home, too -- will still be a huge blow to the Blaugrana faithful. It would be especially painful if Madrid go on to win the competition, leaving Barcelona with the image of their rivals carrying another European trophy.
After four years without a domestic title, Barcelona's recent successes have shifted the narrative on their league success. They are sailing towards a win in La Liga this season, but have recently fallen short in the Champions League, Europa League, and Copa del Rey, eliminated by the likes of Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Manchester United, and now Real Madrid.
Though the Super Cup victory against Madrid and their current La Liga form give evidence of improvement, much reflection and further advancement is still needed before the new season.