Weeks leading before the match, there was a lot of questions among the supporters of Real Madrid CF. And it was whether if their fierce rivals, FC Barcelona would triumph over them for a record-tying sixth consecutive defeat since 2008-2009 season. The answer - almost, as Real Madrid drew with Barcelona 1-1 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, serving as a perfect curtain raiser for Wednesday's Copa del Rey Final.
The starting XI for both clubs came to a surprise as Barcelona captain Carles Puyol started after being out for several months due to injuries while German midfielder Mesut Ozil was also demoted to the bench as Madrid opted for a five man defense of Marcelo, Albiol, Pepe, Carvalho and Sergio Ramos.
The festivities began with the Catalans providing all the firepower in attack. However they were kept at bay due to the heroics of Madrid keeper and captain, Iker Casillas. With that, Barcelona had a penalty appeal turned down when it looked like Casillas felled striker David Villa inside the penalty box. The result was a booking for defender Gerard Pique who was very vocal towards the referee.
All in all, the first half remained stuck at 0-0 despite both squads creating chances to score.
After the interval, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had their chances on goal, but again the defense stood firm in front of the two players who have been rocking the football world. However 50th minute, everything would change for Real Madrid as Messi was felled by Raul Albiol inside the penalty box resulting in a red card for the Spanish defender. Messi did the favor by scoring his 49th goal of the season and were on the verge of handling their fierce rivals a sixth straight consecutive defeat.
A change in the script suddenly happened for the Catalans as skipper Puyol was stretchered off the pitch with a hamstring injury which might render him unavailable on Wednesday at the Mestalla. Despite a man down, Madrid held firm against a Barcelona side that have been running rampant on all competitions.
With that, the script was fully turned when Marcelo was felled inside the penalty area by Dani Alves resulting for another penalty. Ronaldo scored the ensuing spot kick to give Madrid the much deserved draw they needed against their bitter rivals.
With that result, there were two questions that were answered in this match. First is whether Messi could finally score against a Jose Mourinho-led squad, and the second is whether Ronaldo was able to break of his Barcelona jinx after being unable to score in all of their fixtures. Both questions were answered, but more questions rose from the result.
Now both clubs will focus for the Copa final to before locking their horns for the fourth and fifth consecutive time in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals where the victor will go to Wembley to face either Manchester United FC or FC Schalke 04.