Match Report

An insatiable Super Madrid

Real Madrid are champions of the Spanish Super Cup for the 10th time after defeating Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate with a 2-0 victory in Wednesday’s second leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

A wondergoal from Marco Asensio and a sharp strike from Karim Benzema proved plenty for Los Blancos to capture their fourth title of 2017, joining the La Liga, Champions League and UEFA Super Cup trophies that currently reside in the team’s coffers.

The match also left no doubt as to who reigns between Spain’s big two as La Liga begins action next season. Real were dominant in every aspect, while Barcelona were a shell of the team that defeated Los Blancos in Madrid last spring.

Manager Zinedine Zidane made a number of changes from the team that started the first leg. In midfield it was Casemiro who was relegated to the bench while Luka Modric returned to the fold. Taking into account Cristiano Ronaldo’s suspension, there were a total of two changes to the attack. Benzema was the only holdover from the first leg. Otherwise, Isco and Gareth Bale made way for Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.

There were changes from Barcelona’s Ernesto Valverde as well. The new boss used a three-man back line that marked the return of Javier Mascherano to the starting XI. Sergi Roberto pushed forward into midfield, meaning Aleix Vidal was back on the bench, while Andre Gomes joined the fray in place of the injured Andres Iniesta. The change in formation also meant Gerard Deulofeu was out of the lineup, as the Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez made up a two-man forward line.

Real came out of the gates flying. They pressured Barcelona deep in their own half, forcing the visitors into turnovers, and once such giveaway paved the way for Asensio’s fourth minute opener. The 21-year-old collected a ball and rifled in a shot from 30 yards out, leaving Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen frozen while the ball rippled the back of the net for a 1-0 Real lead.

Barcelona were completely out of sorts and badly needed Messi and Suarez to get on the ball. However, outside of a five-minute spurt, it was all Los Blancos in the first 45 minutes. The Barcelona defence was riddled with errors and disorganization, the midfield was non-existent and the attack was tempered sufficiently by Real’s strong back four.

Minutes after Lucas Vazquez stroked a left-footer that thumped off the post, Real made it two through Benzema, as the Frenchman finished off a chance after receiving a cross from Marcelo. Like on the first goal, a Barcelona giveaway allowed Real to pounce and the 2-0 half-time scoreline made Barcelona’s comeback hopes a near impossibility.

Even when Real committed a rare mistake, such as Mateo Kovacic’s giveaway deep in his own half, luck was not on Barcelona’s side, as Messi hit the crossbar on an early second-half shot.

The woes in defence continued for Barcelona. Centre-back Gerard Pique was forced off with an injury early into the second 45 minutes and was replaced by Semedo, but clearly the recently arrived Portuguese was still not on the same page as his new teammates.

Barcelona were still keen to at least get on the scoreboard, but either Real stopper Keylor Navas would make the save or a chance would either flash wide or as in the case of Suarez, hit the post.

In the end, it was a spotless night from Real and they will go into the league season brimming with confidence starting on Sunday at Deportivo.

Barcelona will look to pick up the pieces in their league debut, also on Sunday, at home versus Betis.

Match Sheet:

2.- Real Madrid: Keylor; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kovacic (Casemiro, min. 62), Kroos (Dani Ceballos, min. 80), Modric; Asensio (Theo, min. 75), Benzema, Lucas.

0.- Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mascherano, Pique (Semedo, min. 50), Umtiti; Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba (Digne, min. 78); Busquets, Rakitic, Andre Gomes (Deulofeu, min. 74); Messi, Suarez.

Goals: 1-0, min. 4: Asensio; 2-0, min. 39: Benzema

Referee: Sanchez Martinez (Murcia). Yellow Cards: Suarez (Min. 89) for Barcelona, Mascherano (Min. 93) for Barcelona

Red cards: None

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu

Attendance: 81.044

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