FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid CF
Competition/Round: 2022-23 Copa del Rey, Semi-Finals, Second Leg
First Leg Result: Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Frenkie De Jong, Pedri, Andreas Christensen, Ousmane Dembélé (out)
Real Madrid Outs & Doubts: Ferland Mendy (out)
Date/Time: Wednesday, April 5, 2023, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Thursday)
Venue: Spotify Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera
VAR: José Luis González González
How to watch on TV: Not Available (USA, Canada, India), BT Sport 1 (UK), Startimes World Football (Nigeria), Movistar Liga de Campeones, TVE La 1 (Spain), others
How to watch online: ESPN+ (USA), BTSport.com (UK), Movistar+ (Spain), others
Following a dominant win over Elche to continue their march to the La Liga title, Barcelona return home for the fifth and final El Clásico of the season as they meet main rivals Real Madrid in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie at the Greatest Stadium on Earth.
Barça come into this one with the advantage in the tie after a hard-fought, ugly 1-0 win at the Santiago Bernabéu last month that puts the Blaugrana in position to make the Final as long as they avoid defeat in the second leg. Barça will have a chance to complete the league and Cup double if they find a way past their main rivals, but it won’t be easy to get this one.
Because La Liga is pretty much out of reach, Madrid know that this is their only chance to win a domestic trophy this season and are hungry for revenge after losing the last three Clásicos in a row. Carlo Ancelotti’s side is healthy and very experienced in big elimination matches, and the recent losses to Barça make them even more dangerous for this one.
And Barça will have to find a way to win another Clásico without four crucial starters as Frenkie De Jong, Pedri, Andreas Christensen and Ousmane Dembélé all miss out due to injury. Christensen’s absence is possibly the biggest considering how much Madrid will attack and look for goals in every way possible, but he was also missing in the first leg at the Bernabéu and Barça found a way to win with a very defensive gameplan.
But thinking they can replicate the exact same strategy and win again is not very smart. Barça got away with a lot in that first leg and could have easily conceded at least once, so they have to play with the same attacking mentality and fighting spirit that won them the league Clásico three weeks ago at Camp Nou in dramatic fashion.
Madrid are desperate. Barça have the advantage but are missing crucial pieces. This will be nervous, tense, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Los Blancos pulling off the Remontada. They know how to win two-legged ties, and they’re really hungry to beat Barça this time.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Araujo, Kounde, Alonso, Balde; Kessie, Busquets, Roberto; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Carvajal, Militão, Rüdiger, Alaba; Tchouaméni, Kroos; Rodrygo, Modric, Vinicius; Benzema
I honestly don’t have a very good feeling about this one, but I’ll still trust the good guys to find a way to get to the Final: 2-2 draw.