Spanish Super Cup: Real Madrid Completes Rout of Barcelona

Real Madrid Wins Spanish Super Cup
Real Madrid are now Champions League, La Liga, Uefa Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup holders

Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-0 at the Bernabeu to win the Spanish Super Cup 5-1 on aggregate. The Spanish and European champions were dominant, even without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo.

Marco Asensio, who also scored in the 3-1 first-leg win, gave them an early lead with an excellent 25-yard strike.

And Karim Benzema flicked up Marcelo’s cross and turned defender Samuel Umtiti to fire home a second with Barcelona rarely looking like coming back.

Real eased off in the second half, with the cup practically wrapped up, and Barca improved slightly as a result, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez hitting the woodwork.

In less than two years in charge, Zinedine Zidane has led Real to two Champions Leagues, and the 2016-17 La Liga title. And on this performance, they are going to be hard to beat again.

The big story before the game was Ronaldo claiming he was persecutedafter being banned for five games – for pushing the referee – after being sent off in the first leg.

Watching from the stands, he was not missed on the pitch, with Zidane also able to leave Isco and Gareth Bale on the bench with Sunday’s La Liga opener against Valencia in mind.

But in 21-year-old attacking midfielder Asensio, they have one of Europe’s most talented youngsters, and four minutes in, he fired home an excellent shot that left Marc-Andre ter Stegen rooted to the spot.

Benzema added a second with a great two-touch goal, and Real could slow things down after the break, knowing Barcelona did not look capable of scoring four unanswered goals.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has suffered the worst possible start to his reign with back-to-back defeats against the Catalans fiercest rivals and the visitors never threatened to mount a comeback after conceding.

Messi Shocked at the Loss of Super Cup to Real Madrid
Messi in shock over the loss of Spanish Super Cup to Real Madrid

“We have to recover quickly, the league is on the horizon,” said Valverde, ahead of Barca’s La Liga opener against Real Betis on Sunday.

Shorn of Neymar after his world record breaking transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and injured captain Andres Iniesta, Barca’s star front two lacked the service needed to make a meaningful impact.

“In three days we find ourselves against the ropes,” added Valverde.

“Things have happened in pre-season that have affected the balance of the team and our job is to refind that balance.”

Indeed, the scoreline could have been a lot more embarrassing for Barca as Marcelo dragged wide before Lucas Vazquez hit the post with a glorious chance.

The hosts finally doubled their lead six minutes before the break when Benzema nipped in front of Umtiti and slotted past Ter Stegen.

An 11:00 pm kick-off time meant half-time saw Wednesday turn to Thursday and Barca did at least salvage some pride in the early morning with an improved second-half display.

Messi was desperately unlucky not to net a consolation goal as he hit the underside of the bar from a narrow angle.

The visitors’ night was summed up when Suarez headed against the post with the goal gaping after Navas had parried Messi’s driven shot into his path.

And there could be even worse news to come for Barca as Suarez ended the game visibly suffering from a knee injury that Valverde said will be assessed on Thursday.

BBC/AFP

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