Saturday, 22 January, 2022
E-paper

Barca hoping for Clasico upset

It is traditional to say there are no favourites in the Clasico but this time even Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was unable to keep up the pretence.

Since 2010, 40 meetings have brought 16 Barcelona victories, 10 draws and 14 wins for Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola's Barcelona team were the last to enjoy real dominance, beginning a run of five consecutive wins in 2008 that included a 6-2 thrashing at the Santiago Bernabeu and a 5-0 humiliation at Camp Nou. Across those five games, Barcelona claimed an aggregate score of 16-2.

Since then, neither club had put together four wins on the bounce against the other, until this season, when Madrid ground out a 2-1 victory in the rain at Camp Nou in October, in what was the first meeting of the two clubs since Lionel Messi departed last summer.

Yet Real Madrid are clear favourites on Wednesday in the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup, staged not in Spain, but Saudi Arabia.

The winner will play either Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao in Sunday's final in Riyadh.

"In theory, we are favourites," said Ancelotti on Saturday. "But there is the theory and there is what happens in practice."