The first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinal matchup between Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid ended the same way so many of these recent historical ties have, Barcelona on with a 2-1 victory at the Bernabeu. Goals from Carlos Puyol and Eric Abidal cancelled out an early Christiano Ronadlo score to give the visitors the win a crucial two away goal advantage heading into the second leg.
Ronaldo got the game off right for the hosts 11 minutes in, capitalizing off Cesc Fabregas sloppily giving the ball away in the midfield. Karim Benzema feeds it to the forward, who gives a quick step over before shooting low and hard past Barca keeper Pinto for the lead.
Barca seemed to struggle to find their footing for much of the first half, as Messi was unable to get on the ball much and many of their attacks were thwarted by a strong back line Jose Mourniho deployed.
However, just four minutes into the second half, a Barca corner found an unmarked Carlos Puyol in the middle of the box. The Catalan sides captain came up big as he has done so many times in his long illustrious career, diving into the ball and tying the game all up at one apiece.
From there on, it was Barca’s to lose. They controlled play for long periods of time and were the apparent ones who were going to make the most of the match.
The breakthrough came in the 77th minute when Messi fed Abidal a delectable ball over the top of the defense. Abidal took the ball down with his chest and was clear in on goal, toe poking it around Casillas for the eventual game winner.
Going into the second leg, Barca will be the clear favorites to progress to the semis, but here are five other things that can be taken away from this match.