Karim Benzema scored a hat trick as Real Madrid defeated Barcelona 4-0 in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal in a fiery affair at Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday night.
The hosts came into the match with a three-game victory streak over their biggest rivals, having beaten them in the Spanish Supercopa in January and the Copa del Rey first leg and LaLiga in March.
However, a late first-half goal from Vinicius Junior and a second-half hat trick by Benzema put Madrid on track for the 4-1 aggregate victory and a date with Osasuna in the Copa del Rey final.
Barca looked set to their dominance for much of the first half, but a Thibaut Courtois save on one end led to a quick-hitting counterattack at the close of the opening 45 minutes, which concluded with Vinicius flicking the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen to level the tie on aggregate just before the break.
“It’s the first time for me with Madrid, very happy to reach a final,” Courtois said after the match. “It was a difficult road. We went away to Villarreal, played Atletico at home and then a semifinal with Barca. We’re there and we’ve won, we’re happy to play another final.
“We kept playing as we were playing [in the first half]. In the Supercopa we didn’t play well. At home in the cup, in the league we could have won. We had confidence, and today we finished well, above all at the start of the second half, making it 2-0, then the penalty and then finishing with the fourth, it was great.
“For sure, we’ve lost games against them too. You want to win a Clasico, and giving the image of a 4-0 here is important; we’re happy.”
Benzema scored from open play soon after the restart and then extended Madrid’s second-leg lead to three from the spot after Franck Kessie was whistled for a foul on Vinicius in the area.
With time running out for Xavi Hernandez’s side, Benzema netted his third of the game after Vinicius played him into the area with a clever pass and left the France striker with only Ter Stegen to beat.
The hat trick was Benzema’s ninth since moving to the Santiago Bernabeu and the first by a Real Madrid player at Camp Nou since Ferenc Puskas scored one there in 1963.
After suffering at the hands of Barcelona this season, it was a spectacular riposte by Carlo Ancelotti’s side as Real beat Barca by at least a four-goal margin for the first time since 1995.
“It was a complete match. If you don’t make it complete, you can’t win 4-0 here,” Ancelotti said. “In the first half we had difficulties but the first goal changes the dynamics of the whole match.
“It’s a game in which personality and experience is a very important aspect. We mixed the energy of Rodrygo, [Federico] Valverde and [Eduardo] Camavinga with the experience of Vini, [Luka] Modric, [Toni] Kroos. They played a spectacular game.”
Despite the Copa del Rey loss, Barcelona are 12 points clear of Madrid in LaLiga with 11 games to play as they seek their first title in Spain’s top flight since the 2018-19 season.