Luis Suarez scored twice as Barcelona won at Real Madrid in a smash-and-grab El Clasico to reach a sixth consecutive Copa del Rey final. Real dominated with 14 shots to Barça’s four but the visitors were clinical when it mattered.
Suarez smashed home Ousmane Dembele’s cross before Raphael Varane’s own goal put Barça in control. An audacious chipped penalty from Suarez after he was fouled by Casemiro put the game beyond any doubt.
Both sides – who had drawn the first leg 1-1 – meet again at the Bernabeu on Saturday in La Liga. The Copa del Rey final takes place on 25 May, when Barcelona will face either Real Betis or Valencia, with that tie to be settled on Thursday after the first leg finished 2-2.
The timely return to form for Suarez, on an unusually quiet night for Messi, was the best news for Barcelona in a victory of maximum efficiency. And it contrasted with Vinicius’ woes. The old master trumped the young hopeful in a classic smash and grab victory.
The irony is perhaps that Real Madrid have been beating teams like this for years, most recently Ajax in the Champions League earlier this month and again at Levante on Sunday. In this match, Barça did to Madrid what Madrid so often do to everyone else. And it hurt.
The pain was etched all over Solari’s face in his post-match press conference. “We fell with honour”, he said. “We put a lot of strength and effort into this competition. We are sad. We wanted to play in the final”.