Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka praised defender Rafa Varane after their 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
Cesc Fabregas opened the scoring for the visitors at the Bernabeu on Wednesday after the break but Madrid equalised 10 minutes from time through 19-year-old Frenchman Varane.
Karanka believes the tie is finely balanced heading into the second leg next month.
“I am going to start with Rafa Varane. Playing as a centre back you cannot do it better. [He’s] 19 years old and the game he had – saving a goal, playing perfect, scoring the goal for the draw – he couldn’t have played better,” Karanka said.
“He is trying to improve, his head is in the right place, and he dealt well with this game [in the first team]. Also, for the rest of the team everybody played very well, also the players that played not in their normal position, so we are very happy with the work rate of the team.”
Karanka said Madrid were satisfied with the result despite having multiple chances to claim victory.
“I have the feeling of a job well done, a very impressive performance. We have a lot of players out of their positions and now we have to rest thinking of the game on Saturday. We have still a lot of time for the second leg but as I said, I have the feeling that the team did very well,” he said.
“I think there were chances for both teams. At 0-0 we had some good chances but I think for the people watching this game the draw was the right result because there were a lot of chances for both teams.”
Meanwhile Barcelone coach Jordi Roura believes having home advantage in the second leg will give Barcelona an advantage as the teams battle it out for a place in the final.
“From our point of view a draw in Bernabeu is always a great result. We still have the second leg to play and for us this game has ended with a great result,” Roura said.
“I have said before that these types of games are very difficult, at the end a small result can make a very big difference, and in any case, the semi-final will be finished on our home pitch, and that is how we want it.”