Carles Puyol of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammates. Puyol scored to make it 1-1 against Real Madrid in El Clasico during the Copa del Rey quarterfinal on January 18, 2012.

Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico: Blaugranas Win 2-1 On Abidal, Puyol Goals

Real Madrid went up early in El Clasico on a Cristiano Ronaldo goal, but the Cules scored twice in the second half through two defenders, Puyol and Abidal.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2012, Copa Del Rey Quarterfinals: Final Score, Blaugranas Take 2-1 Lead To Camp Nou

Once again, Real Madrid started strong in El Clasico, but Barcelona eventually picked them apart. It was the same old story in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinal on Wednesday night, with Cristiano Ronaldo getting on the scoreboard early, but the Blaugranas dominating the second half to take a 2-1 victory to the Camp Nou. Los Merengues will need a miracle in the second leg next Wednesday, where they will need to win by two goals or score three times in a one-goal win.

Ronaldo's goal came in the 11th minute on a brilliant run, but some poor goalkeeping. Karim Benzema released him into space with a through ball and he took off with the ball, surging towards goal. Gerard Pique forced him into a left-footed shot at a bad angle, but Jose Manuel Pinto allowed Ronaldo's shot to go through his legs, giving Madrid a 1-0 lead.

Barcelona looked like the superior side in the latter part of the first half and continued their dominance to start the second half. It only took them four minutes to find an equalizer, and they found it in unlikely fashion on a corner kick. Xavi delivered a great in-swinger that looked like it would find the head of Pique at the near post, but he missed and the ball continued on. Carles Puyol anticipated the ball getting through and lost Pepe before hitting a diving header into the back of the net, tying the score at 1-1.

The game featured a bit of controversy in the 69th minute, when Pepe appeared to step on the hand of Lionel Messi while he was on the ground. The referee completely missed the incident and it devolved into a large scuffle that wasn't quite a fight. The Spanish FA will likely review the incident, and it would not be surprising to see Pepe suspended for the second leg.

Eric Abidal was the unlikely scorer of the winning goal, and it was a brilliant one. Messi, who was having a very average game up until this point, provided an absolutely stunning assist with a chip into the box for Abidal to run onto. Like a center forward, Abidal controlled the ball brilliantly with his chest and pushed it into the back of the net with his second touch, giving the Blaugranas a massive advantage heading to the Camp Nou.

For more on the two teams, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. For all of the previous in-came coverage, check out our Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico: Eric Abidal Makes It 2-1 Barca

Lionel Messi hasn't been at his best today, but he's just worked a piece of magic to give Barcelona a 2-1 lead at the Santiago Bernabeu. The visitors' number ten managed to draw no less than seven players inside to challenge him, and, somehow spotting the run of left back Eric Abidal through a crowd of bodies, flicked a beautiful pass straight into the Frenchman's path, leaving him one-on-one with Iker Casillas. Abidal isn't fazed by the occasion, and calmly strokes the ball home at the far corner.

So that's not going to make Jose Mourinho very happy, despite a strong reaction from Real Madrid that should probably have seen one of Karim Benzema and Jose Callejon score after good work from Cristiano Ronaldo. His team's thrown away a 1-0 halftime lead and have less than ten minutes left to draw level. They're losing at home to Barcelona. Again.

For more on the two teams, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. We have live coverage of the match in our Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico: Carles Puyol Draws Barca Level

Well, the question of whether or not this Real Madrid defence can keep Barcelona off the board is no longer open. The visitors have drawn level in a very un-Barca-like way - from a corner. The ball in from Xavi floats over Gerard Pique, but Carles Puyols is on hand to pull off a fantabulous diving header and ping the ball straight into the bottom corner, with Iker Casillas stranded. Pepe, incidentally, completely failed to track Puyols's run, so Madrid can lay most of the blame for that goal on his shoulders.

Anyway, the game continues. Alexis Sanchez is fouled by Sergio Ramos, who has the temerity to wave around an imaginary yellow card for the Chilean after having kicked him quite hard in the calf. Madrid, already short-tempered after conceding, are getting even crankier now, and there's a bit of unfriendly behaviour going on between the two sides now. Hopefully that doesn't continue, because as a football match this has been pretty excellent. After 50 minutes, we're all square at 1-1.

For more on the two teams, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. We have live coverage of the match in our Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2012, Copa Del Rey Quarterfinals: Halftime, Cristiano Ronaldo Goal Has Merengues 1-0 Up

Real Madrid lead Barcelona after 45 minutes of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal, first leg match, but they just barely held on to keep a clean sheet heading into the break. Los Merengues lead by a score of 1-0 at halftime on a goal by the much maligned Cristiano Ronaldo, but Jose Mourinho will be looking to make some adjustment to his team at halftime. A Barcelona goal looked inevitable for a bit, and Madrid will have been happy to see the whistle.

The 11th minute goal featured some shoddy goalkeeping, but there's nothing to take away from Ronaldo or Madrid. Karim Benzema provided the assist with a through ball into acres of space for Ronaldo to run on to after Barcelona lost the ball in the Madrid half. Ronaldo made a brilliant 60-yard run before Gerard Pique got in front of him and forced him into one option, a left-footed shot from a narrow angle. Ronaldo took what he was given and hit a calm finish between the legs of Jose Manuel Pinto. It's not unfair to say that Victor Valdes would have done better.

Barcelona almost equalized in the 16th minute through Alexis Sanchez. Cesc Fabregas played a great chip into the box for the Chilean, who hit an even better header, but his shot hit the crossbar and bounced away after beating Iker Casillas badly.

Casillas did have a couple of moments of brilliance, however. He made a great near-post reaction save on a low Lionel Messi shot in the 26th minute, then made a spectacular clearance with a diving header outside of his penalty area in the 33rd minute.

Messi has had a solid game, but has not been his usual influential self. The Merengues midfield three of Pepe, Xabi Alonso and Lassana Diarra is having an excellent game and is making life difficult for Barcelona in the center of midfield. Though Mourinho's tactics are working, makeshift right back Hamit Altintop began to look shaky in the latter part of the second half, while the team as a whole has passed the ball poorly. There won't necessarily be halftime subs, but expect some tactical adjustments to start the second half.

For more on the two teams, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. We'll have live coverage of the match in our Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico: Ronaldo Strikes To Give Madrid Lead

And so much for things being quiet. Cristiano Ronaldo, who blew a host of chances in the previous fixture between these two teams, has just put Real Madrid ahead of Barcelona! Pep Guardiola often talks about how poor his team are without the ball, and they certainly don't cover themselves in glory here, losing possession in midfield and allowing Karim Benzema to hit a long diagonal forward to his Portuguese teammate.

Ronaldo races clear of the defence and with Gonzalo Higuain an option in the centre, Jose Pinto refuses to commit to a shot and is take by surprise when the ball is blasted between his legs and into the back of the net for the game's opening goal. There's nearly an instant response from Barcelona with Andres Iniesta forcing a fine save from Iker Casillas, but the subsequent corner comes to nothing and it's 1-0 Madrid.

For more on the two teams, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. We'll have live coverage of the match in our Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2012, Copa Del Rey Quarterfinals: Merengues Lineup

The trivote has returned, and so has Ricardo Carvalho. Surprises galore from Jose Mourinho, who has selected a very interesting Real Madrid lineup for the Copa Del Rey clash with Barcelona. Carvalho will partner Sergio Ramos in defense, while Fabio Coentrao and Hamit Altintop get surprise fullback starts. Pepe has been pushed into the midfield while both Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema start. Here's the lineup.

Real Madrid Lineup (4-3-3): Casillas; Altintop, Ramos, Carvalho, Coentrao; Pepe, Alonso, Diarra; Ronaldo, Higuaín, Benzemá

The match kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 p.m. local time. You can catch the game on GolTV in the USA and Canada in English, as well as ESPN Deportes in Spanish in the USA. The game is also available in the USA on ESPN3. You can catch the game in the UK on Sky Sports 2.

For more on the two teams, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. We'll have live coverage of the match in our Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream.

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Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona 2012, Copa Del Rey Quarterfinals: Blaugranas Lineup

Pep Guardiola has selected his strongest possible team, or so we can only assume. Apparently, Victor Valdes isn't fit to go tonight. Jose Manuel Pinto is the starting goalkeeper. The rest of the team is as expected, with the regular back four, three in the midfield and three up top that we've come to expect from Barcelona. Real Madrid's team should feature quite a few more surprises. Here's the lineup.

FC Barcelona Lineup (4-3-3): Pinto; Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal; Busquets; Xavi, Iniesta; Fàbregas, Messi, Sanchez

The match kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 p.m. local time. You can catch the game on GolTV in the USA and Canada in English, as well as ESPN Deportes in Spanish in the USA. The game is also available in the USA on ESPN3. You can catch the game in the UK on Sky Sports 2.

For more on the two teams, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. We'll have live coverage of the match in our Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 2012 El Clasico StoryStream.

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