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.