Jose Mourinho demonstrated his ability as a superb coach once more. Wednesday’s Copa del Rey second leg between Barca and Real Madrid clearly demonstrated that the gap between the teams is closing. It took Mourinho a while to find the right way and tools, but today’s performance will give Real much more leverage in the coming weeks and the next Clasico’s. Real dominated the first half while stunningly falling behind 2-0 and much of the second half. Barca had to make it to the end hanging on on nothing else than their teeth. This has been the closest of matches of the past 9 or so.
Despite Real dominating the first half, Barca took a 2-0 lead into the break. And that was only for the unwritten rule that when you have a run, the s… rolls up the hill. Real had a clear plus in opportunities, but didn’t have any luck with their attempts. Mezut Oezil, who turned Eric Abidal on Barca’s left inside out and back all evening, smashed a cracker from 25 yards out against the crossbar while on the other side Alves no less fantastic shot was an inch lower and found his way into the Real net right before halftime. The difference, pure luck.
With a 2-0 Barca lead in the second half, most thought the game is over. And for 10 or 15 minutes it looked like that. Until Real scored twice in 4 minutes and was a goal away from advancing. While Barca was always dangerous the game went back in Real’s hands. The rest for Barca and Barca supporters was hanging on on their teeth.
With today’s game, Real closed the gap to Barca. Real has turned into an even opponent. Different in game and structure, but clearly able to beat the Catalans. The next Clasico might see a different winner. One leg, two legs, Real and Mourinho are on it and Barca’s time might be up.