The Bernabéu revamp is proving costly

Real Madrid didn't play badly, but they lost 0-3 in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg because football is a battle all over the pitch, but it turns on what happens in the boxes, and there Barcelona had the upper hand. Vinicius was highly productive, but his moves didn't find a boot or a head to finish them off. Dembélé was far less productive, but the first time he got past his man he set up Luis Suárez to score, and the second time it finished with Varane scoring in his own net, in a desperate attempt to prevent Luis Suárez's second goal. And there would be another goal. A clear penalty from Casemiro on Suárez, foolish in my opinion, which the Uruguayan scored Panenka-style. In summary: Barcelona had two shots on goal and scored three. Even so, that's not Barcelona's fault.

Being able to score... it's something a player has or doesn't. The coach can't make it happen. You buy it, and it's expensive. But it's even more expensive to revamp a stadium as big as the Bernabéu and if you want to splurge on doing that you need to save somewhere else. Save, for example, on Cristiano Ronaldo's salary, and the 100 million you could get for him would come in handy too. And just in case, so nobody would say anything, you could buy Mariano, and try and get by with Benzema and Bale. But no. It's not the same. That's why at this newspaper we wrote the 'BBC' as 'bbC', with two small letters and one capital 'C'. That's still the case even though Benzema has taken a step forward since Cristiano left. Alas on the other hand Bale is worse than he was - more fragile, more fickle.

The situation then this evening was that Real Madrid played better than Barcelona, but were less effective. It's not much of a shock really: we've played 25 rounds in LaLiga and Barcelona have scored 65 goals to Real Madrid's 43. Madrid's attack depends on Vinicius, whose ability to break through the lines is remarkable. We've asked him for his final ball to be better, and he's improving. Yesterday he played decent balls to Benzema, Reguilón and Lucas Vázquez, all of which were close to ending up in the back of the net, and he hit one himself just over the bar. Producing far less though Dembélé did enough for Barcelona to put the game to bed and knock Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey, which seemed like their best chance of a trophy this season.