Archrivals Real Madrid and FC Barcelona put on a magnificent display of soccer here Wednesday in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
The home side, already out of contention in La Liga, regained a measure of self-esteem by holding their own in the battle with first-place Barça in front of 83,000 fans in Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
It was a frustrating day for top scorers Leo Messi of Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, as neither could find the back of the net.
After a scoreless first half, the teams picked up where they left off, trading offense forays until a mistake by Callejon sent the ball to Messi and from him to Cesc Fabregas, who beat Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Blancos were briefly dazed, but survived thanks to skillful defending by Varane, who thwarted Cesc’s bid to make it 2-0 and went on to get the equalizer in the 81st minute.