French youngster Raphael Varane headed in a late goal as Real Madrid salvaged a 1-1 draw against bitter rival Barcelona in its Spanish Cup semifinal first-leg clash on Wednesday.
Cesc Fabregas had given Barcelona the lead at the Santiago Bernabeu in a game his side looked to be running away with until the leveller.
Varane was Madrid’s star all evening, clearing off the line in the first-half and making countless other defensive interventions in an entertaining encounter.
With the second-leg almost a month away, Madrid, which trails Barca by 15 points in the league, will be relieved to avoid defeat and will now look to the Champions League last 16 first-leg against Manchester United in the same stadium in less than two weeks.
Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka highlighted Varane’s performance.
“He had a great game, after saving us a few times he gets the equaliser and it will do him good, he is only 19 and this will be good for his progress with us,” he said.
Semifinal: First leg: Real Madrid 1 (Varane 81) drew with Barcelona 1 (Fabregas 51). — AFP