Real Madrid had to accept responsibility for failing to take their chances after a chastening 3-0 defeat to Barcelona in a Copa del Rey semi-final second leg on Wednesday, according to coach Santiago Solari. With Vinicius Jr their chief creator, Madrid produced a dominant display at the Santiago Bernabeu but a goal eluded them and they exited the competition staring at a harsh 4-1 aggregate defeat.
“Football is also about how clinical you are, and while we were committed and played with energy we did not take our chances,” Solari told a news conference.
“We fell with honour, but it’s difficult to talk about fairness or injustice in football.” In contrast, Barca were ruthless down the other end, taking the lead against the run of play early in the second half with a strike from Luis Suarez, then doubling their advantage with an own goal from Raphael Varane.
Uruguayan striker Suarez then rounded off Barca’s victory in style by scoring again with a ‘Panenka’ penalty. “They scored with their first shot, their second was an own goal, and we couldn’t score with our attempts. There’s nothing else to add,” added the Argentine coach.
“We gave everything and we played with heart and creativity but we go home feeling sad because we are not going to the final.”
Madrid have barely any time to dwell on the defeat, as they host the La Liga leaders again on Saturday in what is their last realistic attempt to get back into the title race, as they currently sit third, nine points adrift of the Catalans.
“We hope that some of the shots we missed today go in on Saturday,” Solari added.
“In football you have to get back on your feet immediately because the next game is going to cause us problems too.”
Barca lived up to ‘world’s best’ tag in Clasico-Suarez
Luis Suarez said Barcelona had honoured the club’s reputation as insatiable trophy collectors after scoring twice in a 3-0 win at rivals Real Madrid on Wednesday to reach the Copa del Rey final for an astonishing sixth straight season. Barca have won the last four editions of the competition but coach Ernesto Valverde has heavily rotated his squad this season in the Cup and the team had to overturn first leg defeats to Levante and Sevilla to reach the last four.
After a shy performance in the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu in which Madrid missed a slew of goalscoring opportunities, Barca were ruthlessly clinical, leaving enemy territory with a 4-1 aggregate win.
“You have to live up to the reputation of this club, which is the best in the world, and overall we did that tonight,” Suarez said.
“This is another demonstration of how good this team is. People keep saying that we don’t care about the Cup, but we have shown that we always want to win every single trophy. “We knew that coming to the Bernabeu would be difficult but we were aware we had a great opportunity to play in another final.”
Valverde admitted his side could have fallen behind on numerous occasions but welcomed the efficient nature of the victory after his side had drawn a blank in a Champions League game at Olympique Lyonnais.
“It was not a resounding display from us, we have to recognise that, but we scored three times without creating many chances. Sometimes it’s the other way round,” he said.
“Sometimes football is a little random. In Lyon, we had 25 shots and we couldn’t score with any of them and people said we were in crisis.”
Defender Jordi Alba said he believed Barca were worthy winners, though, and underlined the importance of their triumph. “We were the better team against magnificent opponents, which is very difficult to do in their stadium, and we won by a big margin. We had to suffer to win, but overall we played well,” he said.
“We really appreciate the Copa del Rey — and Real Madrid wanted to win it too. A lot of their fans arrived early to create a huge atmosphere, so we will not accept the excuse that this is a minor trophy.”