Wednesday 21 February 2018

Priceless Fabregas effort earns share

Real Madrid 1
Barcelona 1

Cesc Fabregas struck what could well prove to be a priceless away goal as holders Barcelona drew 1-1 at depleted arch rivals Real Madrid in an entertaining and closely fought Copa del Rey semi-final first leg.

Lionel Messi sent Fabregas clear five minutes after half-time at an electric Bernabeu stadium – enjoying the second 'Clasico' of the season – and the midfielder finished with ease past Real goalkeeper Diego Lopez.

Barca missed several clear chances to extend their lead before Real centre-back Raphael Varane crowned a superlative performance when he leaped to head home an equaliser from a pass by midfielder Mesut Ozil seven minutes from time.

Despite having a slight advantage for the second leg at the Nou Camp at the end of next month, Barca may live to regret not scoring more against a Real team missing regular 'keeper and captain Iker Casillas and Pepe through injury and the suspended Sergio Ramos.

The winners of the tie will play Atletico Madrid or Sevilla – who meet today at Atletico's Calderon stadium – in May's final.

Irish Independent

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