MADRID- Real Madrid and Barcelona take significant advantages into the second legs of their Copa del Rey semi-finals against Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad respectively as they look to seal their place in the final on April 19.
The two giants of Spanish football have met in each of the last three seasons in the competition, but it would be the first time since Cristiano Ronaldo’s extra-time header handed Real the Cup in 2011 that they would have met in the final.
Real are first into action on Tuesday night as they travel to the Vicente Calderon defending a comfortable 3-0 lead from the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Atletico have endured a nightmare week as they followed up that defeat by losing for just the second time in the league this season against Almeria on Saturday to also surrender top spot in La Liga.
Diego Simeone’s men badly missed the presence of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in Almeria and the Belgian remains a doubt due to a back injury.
Atletico will also be without top-scorer Diego Costa through suspension and Simeone may decide to rest a few other first-team regulars to concentrate their efforts on La Liga and the return of the Champions League with a trip to face AC Milan on the horizon next week.
Real, meanwhile, continued their fine form with a 4-2 win over Villarreal at the weekend to stretch their unbeaten run to 23 games.
Midfielder Luka Modric was again key at the weekend and the Croatian believes an away goal will be enough to kill off the tie.
“It is not finished. We need to play as if the tie was still 0-0 and like how we did in the first leg.,” he told Real Madrid TV.