Real Madrid and FC Barcelona battled to a 1-1 draw in the first-leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday. Barca enjoyed the majority of possession and took the lead in the 50th minute whenLionel Messi intercepted a clearance and passed to Cesc Fabregas, who finished low passed the onrushing Diego Lopez. Real searched for an equalizer and was ultimately rewarded in the 81st minute as 19-year-old man-of-the-matchRafael Varane headed home from a Mesut Ozil cross.
"It's like a dream come true, incredible to score a goal like that against Barcelona at just 19,'' Varane said after the game. "The second leg will be evenly matched and we're going to play a good game there to win.'' Barca’s Fabregas was also pleased with the result. "This is obviously a good result; we are in the Bernabeu, a very tough field, and we will have our own fans behind us for the return leg of the draw,'' the former Arsenal midfielder said.
"I'm new here but I saw a very united and strong locker room,” Diego Lopez, who was signed on Jan. 26 to provide cover for injured goalkeeper Iker Casillas, said. “We're conscious this is a very tough rival, but we came out and showed our best side and displayed good ball control.''
Barcelona assistant coach coach Jordi Roura said the semifinal was always likely to be decided in the return leg. "These matches are always difficult and I had said that in all probability the semifinals would likely be decided in Barcelona and that's exactly what's going to happen.'’ Roura stepped in for head coach Tito Vilanova, who is undergoing cancer treatment in the United States. The second-leg will be held at the Camp Nou on Feb. 27.