Copa del Rey: Real Madrid vs Barcelona preview


The third "Clasico" of the season will take place on Wednesday evening, when Real Madrid will host Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final clash. The first leg at Camp Nou ended 1-1, Lucas Vazquez opened the scoring for the Blancos after just six minutes but Malcom netted the equalizer for the Blaugrana in the second half. The first derby of the season was won by Barcelona 5-1 with a hat-trick from Luis Suarez and goals from Philippe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal. That result led to the sacking of Real Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui. Overall, Real Madrid have won the derby 95 times, while Barcelona have won it on 93 occasions.

Real Madrid are quite keen on reaching the Copa del Rey final since their chances of winning the LaLiga title are mostly theoretical at the moment, with Barcelona nine points ahead with thirteen matches remaining in the season. In theory the Blancos have an advantage over their rivals as a goalless draw would push them through to the final on away goals, but going for a goalless draw against Barcelona is a risky path. Last week Real Madrid won 2-1 at Levante in LaLiga, with both goals scored from penalty kicks. Marcos Llorente and Isco are the only injury concerns for the home side ahead of this match.

Barcelona are going for a treble this season and they are also looking to end the season without any defeats against Real Madrid. The first-leg result gives them enough options for Wednesday's match, but it's quite clear that they will be going for the win, as always. Last weekend the Blaugrana secured a spectacular 4-2 victory at Sevilla in LaLiga, with a splendid hat-trick from Lionel Messi. The Argentinian star is ready to play in the derby after being a substitute in the first leg, while Rafinha and Jasper Cillessen remain sidelined. Arthur and Thomas Vermaelen are injury doubts for the visitors.

Probable line-ups:

Real: Navas - Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Reguilon - Kroos, Casemiro, Modric - Vazquez, Benzema, Junior

Barca: Ter Stegen - Roberto, Umtiti, Pique, Alba - Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal - Messi, Suarez, Dembele

My prediction: 2-2 draw, it should be a more open match than the first leg and Barcelona should have what it takes to pull through.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Real win - 2.70
Draw - 3.50
Barca win - 2.45

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