Karim Benzema’s second-half hat-trick guided Real Madrid to a thumping 4-0 win over Barcelona at the Camp Nou, as Carlo Ancelotti’s side overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit to reach the Copa del Rey final.
The second half then turned into the Benzema show as the defending Balon d’Or winner scored three goals in 30 minutes to seal a famous win in Barcelona’s own back yard.
It was the first time since Ferenc Puskás in 1963 that a Real Madrid player had scored a hat-trick at the Camp Nou and Ancelotti hailed the performance as “a complete match” from his players.
“If you don’t make it complete, you can’t win 0-4 here,” Ancelotti said, per Reuters. “In the first half, we had difficulties, but the first goal changes the dynamics of the whole match.
“It’s a game in which personality and experience is a very important aspect. We mixed the energy of Rodrygo, [Federico] Valverde and [Eduardo] Camavinga with the experience of Vini, [Luka] Modric, [Toni] Kroos. They played a spectacular game.”
It was certainly a sobering night for a Barcelona team that has exceeded expectations this season. Xavi’s side sits 12 points clear of Los Blancos at the top of La Liga and has all but assured itself of a 27th league title with 11 matches remaining.
However, there were audible jeers from the home fans after Benzema scored Real’s third and fourth goals, leaving Xavi to lament his team’s disappointing performance.
“Congratulations to Real Madrid, who had a great second half,” he said. “If you show Madrid mercy, they don’t show you mercy.
“It will be hard to sleep, as I am from Barcelona and many of the squad are. But tomorrow, we think about Girona.”
Standing in Real Madrid’s way of clinching a 20th Spanish Cup is Osasuna, which edged past Athletic Bilbao 2-1 on aggregate to reach the final for just the second time in the club’s history.