MADRID (AP) — Barcelona had been scoring soft, getting quite lots of targets from its forwards to be taught thriving within the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey.
Lack of offensive prowess become removed from an area for the Catalan club.
Nonetheless issues grasp changed coming into an critical portion of the season, with Barcelona attracting consideration for a chain of accidents in attack and enduring a depressed scoring speed.
Barcelona will most likely be without some of its high scorers when it visits Exact Madrid within the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals on Thursday. And it’s now not known within the event that they’ll be match when the opponents meet over again in a decisive Spanish league match in a pair of weeks.
Barcelona will head to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium without Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembélé and Pedri attributable to accidents. The trio grasp blended for 40 targets this season, with 25 coming from Lewandowski, eight from Dembélé and seven from Pedri.
Lewandowski is out with a hamstring force sustained within the 1-0 loss at Almería on Sunday, which marked the first time Barcelona failed to score a aim in a match since October. Pedri and Dembélé are nursing muscle accidents.
“We’re missing three critical avid gamers, but we are able to peaceful compete,” Barcelona coach Xavi acknowledged Wednesday. “More than ever, now we grasp to play as a team. We have to play with personality.”
Forward Ansu Fati additionally has been injured now not too prolonged ago but become expected to be on hand for Xavi at the Bernabéu.
He would possibly maybe well play on the left facet of the attack, with Raphinha on the excellent and Ferran Torres coming in as a striker. Torres had one amongst his simplest video games with Barcelona in a league ‘clasico’ towards Madrid final year, when the Catalan club gained 4-0 at the Bernabéu. Xavi would possibly maybe well enlighten Gavi in a more offensive space in midfield if Fati doesn’t play.
Barcelona outscored opponents 24-7 in a 11-game successful speed that ended with the house plot towards Manchester United within the first leg of the Europa League playoffs. It then misplaced 2-1 in England final week to leer its hopes of silverware reduced to the Copa and the league, the effect it leads Madrid by seven aspects.
“In the event you glance at the final two matches, it seems esteem we are within the sanatorium,” Xavi acknowledged. “Nonetheless we are peaceful leading the league and we are within the semifinals of the Copa, so it’s been a handsome speed. We are able to’t focal point on the final two matches.”
Barcelona defeated Madrid 3-1 within the Spanish Big Cup final in January. It misplaced by the identical score within the first ‘clasico’ of the season in a league match at the Bernabéu.
“We don’t grasp to purchase excellent to avenge the Big Cup loss,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti acknowledged. “We want to purchase because we are shut to successful but every other title.”
MADRID’S ATTACK COMPLETE
Madrid has two absences in protection attributable to accidents — central defender David Alaba and left back Ferland Mendy — but Ancelotti will grasp all of his high avid gamers on hand in attack.
Rodrygo is the most modern forward to recover from injure and is anticipated to play on Thursday in an attack led by Vinícius Junior and Karim Benzema.
Madrid skipped over a huge gamble to pass nearer to Barcelona within the league after being held by 10-man Atlético at house on Saturday. It has a 5-2 lead over Liverpool within the spherical of 16 of the Champions League.
Madrid is having a stumble on to purchase its first Copa since 2014. Barcelona gained it for the final time in 2021.
The numerous Copa semifinal will most likely be performed between Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao, the most profitable Copa team within the back of Barcelona.
Athletic is making its fourth straight semifinal look, while Osasuna is within the final four for the first time since reaching the final in 2005.
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports