Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Preview and predicted lineups for El Clasico

Real Madrid and Barcelona players during a La Liga match at Camp Nou. — AFP/File
Real Madrid and Barcelona players during a La Liga match at Camp Nou. — AFP/File

FC Barcelona will face off against long-time rivals Real Madrid at Camp Nou in a much-anticipated Copa del Rey Clasico semi-final second leg on Wednesday, with the latter looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit.

Speaking ahead of the match, Los Blancos’ manager Carlo Ancelotti said that his side is eager to turn the tables on Barcelona. 

The Whites also have their entire squad available apart from left-back Ferland Mendy.

Eder Militao's own goal gave Barcelona the lead in the first leg in March as Madrid failed to overcome the Catalans’ solid defence.

"The idea is not to go crazy to try and score a goal," said Ancelotti.

"The idea is to play a complete game, with and without the ball.

"We won't go mad, because you can score a goal in the fifth minute and then let in two."

The Spanish champions have suffered three consecutive defeats in the derby, recently.

"Barca have beaten us the last three times, so I think now it's our turn to win," said Ancelotti.

"We have to evaluate that in the last two games we have done well, we don´t just look at the results," he added. "We were close to winning the last match at Camp Nou."

Ancelotti admitted it was tough to choose between his midfielders, with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni, and Eduardo Camavinga all eager to start the match.

"The hardest thing is to choose (who plays)," said Ancelotti.

"Not just today, always. The mentality of the players will not change, they want to play from the start. They don't want to come on.

"It's very hard to choose a side because obviously there are more than 11 who deserve to play, there are 14 or 15."

Barcelona manager, Xavi, considers Real Madrid favourites for the tie, despite the slim lead.

"We don't have Madrid's measure at all," Xavi said in a news conference on Tuesday. "They can easily come here and win. They can beat any team — how long is it since they lost a two-legged tie?

"It's very even. They are more used to these types of games, they have more experience, and they have produced comebacks. For me, they are still favourites."

Predicted XIs

Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Nacho, Camavinga, Modric, Kroos, Valverde, Vinicius, Benzema.

FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Araujo, Kounde, Alonso, Balde, Busquets, Kessie, Roberto, Raphinha, Gavi, Lewandowski.