Barcelona rode a first-half own goal from Real Madrid to a 1-0 win in their Copa del Rey semifinal first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday night.

Visiting manager Xavi Hernandez called Madrid favourites ahead of the tie and, despite the Catalans having won the SuperCopa Clasico 3-1 on Jan. 15, the LaLiga leaders came into the match without the injured Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Robert Lewandowski.

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Even without three of their top attacking players, Barca went in front before the half-hour when Ferran Torres picked off a poorly played back pass by Madrid and played in Franck Kessie, who had his attempt blocked by Thibaut Courtois only for Eder Militao to redirect the rebound into his own net.

The fiesty first half ended with Barca 1-0 up and Vinicius Junior on a yellow card after a midfield tussle saw the Brazil international take Frenkie de Jong down in a headlock after a physical battle for the ball between the two.

Kessie nearly made it 2-0 for Barca in the 72nd minute, but his shot from close range from another Torres pass was inexpicably blocked off target by second-half substitute Ansu Fati.

The two sides meet again on March 19 in LaLiga, where Barcelona are currently seven points ahead of second-placed Madrid, before the decisive Copa del Rey second leg at the Camp Nou on April 5.

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