The latest Clasico produced a Cristiano Ronaldo goal, a comeback from Barcelona, a rare match winner from Eric Abidal and surprisingly, no red card. There actually should have been at least one sending off following Pepe’s stomp on Lionel Messi’s hand. However, controversy is most often the rule of the game when Barcelona and Real Madrid clash.
What will happen at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night? Will Barcelona suffer an upset despite holding a vital 2-1 advantage ahead of the second leg? Will Real Madrid exit the Copa del Rey in the quarterfinals as most expect?
Kick-off time for Barcelona vs Real Madrid is on Wednesday, January 25 at 16:00 EST and 21:00 GMT. Live streaming and TV schedule info for El Clasico can be found on the match page.
Iker Casillas will not keep a clean sheet
The Real Madrid shot stopper endures nightmares almost every time he faces Barca. Conceding goals from the Catalans is a habit he certainly dislikes. Casillas, who claims that El Clasico has become “decaffeinated” due to its frequency in recent times, has allowed more than 20 Barcelona goals in his net.
Whether Real Madrid win or lose on Wednesday night is not the topic in discussion now. The point is about predicting the following: Casillas won’t emulate his Copa del Rey final feat as he’ll concede at least one goal at the Camp Nou.
Jose Mourinho will be red carded
Jose Mourinho’s disciplinary record is bad. The last time he was at the Camp Nou, he robbed the headlines for bad reasons. Mourinho poked the eye of Barcelona’s assistant coach, Tito Vilanova.
On his return to the Camp Nou, the Real Madrid manager will most likely be greeted by hostile home supporters. On top of that, Jose Mourinho may also have to deal with boos from some of Real Madrid’s traveling supporters.
During Wednesday night’s Clasico, don’t be surprised if the Special One reacts in a way that would earn him a sending off.
Real Madrid will score first
It is very rare to see Real Madrid scoring first in El Clasico. It is actually so rare that when Karim Benzema scored El Clasico’s earliest goal on December 10, the world thought that the stage was set for a real surprise from Mourinho’s men.
Unfortunately for Madridistas, the invincible Catalans replied with goals from Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Fabregas. In the first leg of this Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie, Cristiano Ronaldo also got Real Madrid fans thinking, “this is it”. The criticized superstar put Los Blancos in front with a well-taking opportunity but Carles Puyol and Abidal reminded everyone about Barcelona’s authority at the end of the day.
Once again, the point is not about predicting a win or a defeat for Real Madrid. It is about predicting that Real Madrid will score first. Remember what Mourinho said recently in relation to Wednesday night's match:
“We must score first to unsettle them. But Barcelona is a great team and my team must make no defensive errors.”
The rivalry of El Clasico is so intense that it could cause trouble from the crowd. Physical fights involving the bench, the staff and on-the-field players of both camps have become natural. Ugly scenes are tarnishing the beauty of El Clasico. Crowd violence would completely kill the excitement at the Camp Nou.
There will be an injury-time goal
Whether it’s a close call or a one-sided affair in the second leg of this Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie, chances are that the match will be heated right until the final whistle. The public can anticipate a late goal from either team.