Real Madrid defeats Barcelona in the 100th El Clasico to reach the Spanish Super Cup final
The Spanish Super Cup semifinal saw a very interesting goal-filled skirmish between Barcelona and Real Madrid. The teams played at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the match ended 3-2 in favor of Los Blancos. The winning goal was scored in extra time.
After winning their fifth El Clásico in a row, Real Madrid once again proved their class, although the game was tough. Xavi’s side came back twice, but the victory went to the much more mature Madrid team.
This seems to be the rare case where both teams can cling to the positives: Barcelona is progressing and has definitely not failed this crucial test; the crisis seems to be behind them. Real Madrid, on the other hand, played brightly and advanced, proving their system.
As for the setup: Xavi used a 4-3-3. There were no big surprises in terms of squad selection. Finally, Ferran Torres made his debut. He came on as right winger, which led to the switch of Ousmane Dembele to the left wing.
Carlo Ancelotti, in his turn, fielded a completely classic lineup, with the exception of David Alaba who missed the game due to injury. Nacho Fernandez appeared in the center of defense as a replacement.
In the 25th minute young star Vinicius Júnior opened the scoring: Karim Benzema tackled Sergio Busquets in the middle of the pitch before one-two with magnificent Luka Modric. Then Karim made a pass to Vinicius who rushed into the box and accurately slotted it into the near corner.
After that, Ousmane Dembele unleashed his left-foot cross into the penalty area where Eder Militao tried to calm the air in front of goal with one touch but Luuk de Jong managed to put his foot out while pressing and the ball ricocheted right into the net.
However, Karim Benzema again managed to put Madrid in front. He had some other chances to convert before, but this time, finally, he managed to net by picking the ball in the box after a poorly blocked cross.
Still, youngster Ansu Fati returned Barca back to the game to save the intrigue one more time, leveling the score in the 82nd minute. The Catalans played out a corner-kick which was followed by a cross to the byline where Fati headed the ball into the corner of the net.
Everything was decided in extra time: in the 98th minute, Rodrygo shot into the goalkeeper’s area, where Vinicius beautifully passed the ball behind his back, allowing Federico Valverde to shoot into the near corner – thus the Uruguayan snatched victory and a passage to the final for Los Blancos.
Xavi Hernandez admitted he feels bad about the way the match ended:
“We had it in our hands. We dominated Madrid for most of the game, but we still lack experience, patience and effectiveness. We are close. We cornered Real. It is a pity. It was a day to be brave and put our complexes behind us. This Barca can compete with anyone. We will go home angry and frustrated. We could have won. We took risks and they took advantage of our mistakes.”
Carlo Ancelotti is delighted with the quality of El Classico rivalry, noting that physically the game was very difficult:
“I think it was a match between two great teams. They controlled the possession, but we conceded the first goal due to bad luck. There were no dominant or dominated [team]. We went back on purpose to look for the counter-attack. The three goals that we scored were spectacular. It was a big physical effort. But we have held out well to the end. The fresh legs that came out from the bench did well. We are tired but happy.”
- Real Madrid tops the La Liga standings as Carlo Ancelotti’s team scored 49 points in 21 games of the tournament. Sevilla has 44 points and occupies the second position in the championship while Barcelona (32) holds the sixth position.