Barcelona and Real Madrid are going to add another epic installment to their rivalry when they meet in the second leg of their semifinal match in the Copa del Rey.
These two battled to a 1-1 draw in the first leg on Jan. 30. That leaves Barcelona needing a win or a draw at less than two to advance.
Recent history suggests opposing outcomes. On the one hand, Barcelona, at Camp Nou, is on a 22-match unbeaten streak. On the other hand, they are just 1-3-2 against Madrid in their last five meetings.
This is a huge game for both sides. So while Barcelona has been sleepwalking a bit as of late, I expect a top effort from both teams.
That is not a bold prediction. The next three are.
Barca Will Win Possession But Hit Fewer On-Goal Shots
Barcelona has played six matches since they last faced Madrid. Take out their 6-1 win over Getafe and Barcelona has scored just five goals in the other five matches.
This is well off the blistering pace they set earlier in the year when they were blowing everyone off the pitch.
They are still playing sound football, but the offensive attack has lacked energy and creativity, and they are struggling to get good looks.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid always finds a way to get their shot attempts, and they will in this match.
Madrid Advances on 2-2 Draw
This is going to be a fast-paced affair with lots of action. I would give this match a very slim possibility of being as low scoring as the last one.
With Barcelona's above mentioned offensive listlessness, teams have found success playing with a high defensive line. Barcelona will employ similarly aggressive tactics, and this will drive the pace.
Look for Madrid to jump out to an early 1-0 lead. However, Barcelona will seize momentum and ride the home fans to a 2-1 lead that will hold until....
Cristiano Ronaldo Scores a Late Goal
Who else will be there to save Madrid's 2013 Copa del Rey but Cristiano Ronaldo.
The man with a flair for the dramatic will come through once again—just like he did in the 73rd minute last April 21 at Camp Nou to give Madrid a 2-1 win and essentially the La Liga title.
This time the goal will only produce a draw, but that is a draw Madrid will gladly take as they advance in the Copa del Rey.