Cristiano Ronaldo put Real up in the 11th minute as he took advantage of the gaping hole between Jose Pinto’s legs to swing the ball through after Karim Benzema sprang him free from midfield. That was it for Real’s endeavours. Barca momentarily stunned took over the match keeping Iker Casillas busy.
The resumption of the second half bought immediate dividends for Barca as Carles Puyol who is a human cannonball in real life hurled himself at the ball after Pique whiffed at a corner and his header seared past Casillas for the equalizer in the 49th minute. Captain Fantastic had done it again. The man is ageless. He’s also something of a lucky charm as Barca have won six of these encounters with him and the only one lost was the Copa Del Rey final last year when he was out with an injury.
Things got worse in the 77th minute as Leo Messi, harried, pulled down, stamped on, pulled off a sublime chip over the Madrid defense and Jean Abidal hurrying down the left controlled the ball and toe poked it past Casillas. I couldn’t have said it better than the over the top, “Abidal is as cool as a killer, he’s onto this like Dracula onto a plate of liver.” All hail Messi, all hail Abidal, especially Abidal, who dodged a life threatening condition and only returned last summer.
The celebrations between Alves and Abidal looked like a cross between Wyatt Earp and a samba dance. For Real it was a familiar theme. They simply cannot solve Barca and especially at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Copa Del Rey semi-finals, second leg, now goes to the Camp Nou with Barca in pole position to take the series.