Barcelona put in a resolute and strong defensive display as they secured an important 1-0 win over Real Madrid in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final on Thursday night.

An Eder Militao own goal in the first period proved to be enough for the Blaugrana to return home with a victory in the bag as they defended with great discipline and assurance to prevent Los Blancos to create anything meaningful at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ronald Araujo, in particular, put in an outstanding shift starting at right-back as he completely nullified the impact of Vinicius Jr, stopping the Brazilian from having any sort of notable influence on the game.

Speaking after the game, the Uruguayan claimed it was Barcelona’s best defensive performance of the season, while he also had some good words for Vinicius.

Talking about the Real Madrid winger, Araujo said: “I will face Vinicius many more times in my career. He is a spectacular player.”

“We all know that Vinicius has spectacular quality, but I worked hard to play this match and things went my way.”

Opening up on the performance from Barcelona, the Uruguayan international added: “I think that this is our best defensive match of the season.”

It was a bit of an uncharacteristic performance from the Blaugrana as they had much lesser possession on the night which is unusual considering how Xavi’s side like to be on the ball and control proceedings.

“Normally we have more of the ball, but today we showed that we also know how to defend in our box,” Araujo said on the display.

“We played well, with a very good defensive performance and we competed well. We needed a reaction because we came from two losses,” he added.

Sergio Busquets makes El Clasico history

The occasion was a special one for Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets as he made his 46th appearance in an El Clasico against Real Madrid. In the process, he became the player with the most number of Clasico appearances, going past Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi (45).

Talking about achieving the milestone, Busquets said: “I’m happy to be the player with the most Clasicos played.”

On the performance of the team, the captain added: “This win gives us confidence because we come from two defeats. We competed very well. Our defence is solid, and it was proven with Madrid’s crosses.”

Barcelona will now go into the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final at Camp Nou next month with a slender advantage.

Source: BarçaTV+

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