ঢাকাশনিবার, ১৮ই মে, ২০২৪ খ্রিস্টাব্দ

Madrid defeats Barcelona and advances to the Copa final thanks to Benzema’s hat-trick

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এপ্রিল ৬, ২০২৩ ৪:০৩ অপরাহ্ণ
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Karim Benzema struck a hat-trick as Real Madrid hammered Barcelona 4-0 at Camp Nou to reach the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday, progressing 4-1 on aggregate.

Vinicius Junior opened the scoring just before the break as Carlo Ancelotti’s side mounted a spectacular comeback from their one-goal semi-final first leg deficit, with Benzema adding a second-half treble.

After netting three at the weekend against Real Valladolid in La Liga, Benzema repeated the trick to humiliate Barcelona on a painful night for coach Xavi Hernandez in front of almost 95,000 distraught fans.

Los Blancos trail their arch-rivals by 12 points in La Liga and were beaten by Barca in the Spanish Super Cup final in January, but triumphed here to reach the Copa final for the first time since 2014, where they will face Osasuna.

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema scores their fourth goal to complete his hat-trick. Photo: Reuters

Madrid turfed out the record 31-time cup winners with a muscular performance on a spiky night in Barcelona, where they also ended a demoralising run of three consecutive Clasico defeats.

Ancelotti’s team dominated in the first leg but fell to a 1-0 defeat after Eder Militao’s own goal, and suffered a last-gasp sucker punch in La Liga against Barcelona in March, when the Catalans snatched a late win.

Ancelotti started an attacking side with Toni Kroos as the deepest midfielder and Eduardo Camavinga at left-back, as Los Blancos sought to overturn their narrow deficit.

Xavi, without Ousmane Dembele, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Andreas Christensen, stuck to the same formula that has served Barca well against Madrid in recent months, with four

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema celebrates scoring their fourth goal with teammates. Photo: Reuters

midfielders including Gavi, nominally starting on the left wing.

The game started at a furious pace and intensity, both teams keen to reach the final, but absolutely desperate not to be knocked out by the other.

Barcelona appealed furiously for a penalty in the first few minutes as David Alaba blocked Gavi’s cross with his arm, but it was planted on the floor for balance.

The Austrian defender blocked Sergi Roberto’s effort, while Vinicius and Ronald Araujo resumed their usual running battle at the other end.

Barca coach Xavi was booked for protesting a foul on Franck Kessie as tempers boiled over.

Thousands of Barcelona fans chanted Lionel Messi’s name in the 10th minute, amid speculation he could leave Paris Saint-Germain, and they would have dearly loved some of the Argentine’s magic.

Vinicius and Gavi were both shown yellow cards as they clashed, with referee Juan Martinez Munuera quick on the scene to try and calm things down.