Real Madrid CF beat Barcelona 3-2 (a.e.t) to progress to the Supercopa de Espana final.
Real Madrid flexed their muscles over Barcelona once again to win in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final on Wednesday (12 January). An extra-time goal from substitute Federico Valverde ensured a 3-2 victory for the capital club.
It was a thrilling contest with the forwards of both teams in their groove. Usual suspects Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr combined effortlessly for Real Madrid in the final third. The duo delivered the goods as well when Benzema teed up Vinicius with a perfectly-weighted ball for the opening goal in the 25th minute.
Los Blancos dominated the early exchanges but Barcelona restored parity four minutes before half-time. There was an element of luck to the goal as Ousmane Dembele’s cross from the left flank was not cleared well by Eder Militao. The resulting effort ricocheted off Luuk de Jong and made it into the Real Madrid goal despite Thibaut Courtois’ efforts.
It just wasn’t the night for defenders as Real Madrid would strike again in the second half, with Benzema beating Marc-Andre ter Stegen from close range. The keeper’s initial save found its way to Vinicius Jr who squared it into the striker to roll the ball into an empty net.
The lead was short-lived though as Ansu Fati, who replaced Luuk de Jong, beat Militao and Casemiro to head home from Jordi Alba’s inviting cross.
As the game stretched into extra time, Barcelona threw players into the box but this proved to be their undoing. Los Blancos caught the Catalan club out on the counter and Casemiro played the ball to Rodrygo, whose cutback was left by Vinicius. Valverde arrived late to convert as the two substitutes combined well for the winning goal.
The result meant Real Madrid have now recorded five consecutive wins over their arch-rivals. As Carlo Ancelotti’s side booked their place in the final of the Supercopa de Espana, we take a look at the five hits and flops from the game.
#5 Hit – Ousmane Dembele | Barcelona
Ousmane Dembele displayed a lot of promise in the game.
It is a wonder how Ousmane Dembele finished the game without an assist or goal. The Frenchman was Barcelona’s best player against Real Madrid and relished his role on the left flank.
Dembele impressed with his speedy runs down the flank and quick feet caused all sorts of problems for the Los Blancos defenders. His run and pass were key in the chaotic buildup to his side’s first goal.
While he only had one shot on target, he generated five key passes throughout the game and had a 100% dribble success. Dembele also beat his markers seven times with his skills.
#4 Flop – Eder Militao | Real Madrid
Eder Militao was partly at blame for Barcelona’s goals.
Eder Militao had a forgettable night against Barcelona but fortunately for him, Real Madrid outscored the Catalan club to save face here. Militao has been solid for the majority of the campaign but seemed to struggle against Luuk De Jong’s strength and aerial prowess.
He lost three duels throughout the game and only one of his attempted nine long balls managed to find its target. The Brazilian also bungled a clearance from an incoming cross, which hit De Jong and went straight into the net for the equalizer.
Militao was poor in marking Ansu Fati for Barcelona’s second goal as well, which allowed the diminutive forward to score with a header.
#3 Hit – Vinicius Junior | Real Madrid
Vinicius Junior scored the first goal of the game against Barcelona.
Real Madrid took an early lead in the game against Barcelona thanks to an electrifying run and subtle finish from their in-form forward Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian has come of his own this term and a solid performance in this crucial tie is only going to add to his growing fame.
Vinicius’ pace made him the focal point of almost every attacking move for Real Madrid. Amazingly, he kept up his energy levels right until the very end as he was taken off the pitch in the 110th minute.
Both of his shots were on target and he also generated two key passes in the game, posing a significant threat to the Barcelona defense. Though he did not pick up an assist, his involvement in the buildup to Real Madrid’s second and third goals simply cannot be overlooked.
#2 Flop – Ferran Torres | Barcelona
Ferran Torres failed to impress in his Barcelona debut.
Ferran Torres, Barcelona’s first signing in the ongoing transfer window, failed to leave a good account of himself on his club debut. The Spaniard was taken off after a dismal first-half performance.
The former Manchester City forward did not offer much of a threat going forward against Real Madrid. Torres simply couldn’t match his fellow forwards’ displays as Dembele stole the show with his flair and Luuk de Jong was a menace in the box.
He lost five duels in just the first half and was also disposessed three times and was also the first player to be booked in the game. After being shown a clean pair of heels by Ferland Mendy, Torres pulled on the Frenchman’s shirt to stop him in his tracks.
One can only imagine how different the outcome would’ve been if Barcelona had a fully-fit Ansu Fati starting in his place here.
#1 Hit – Karim Benzema | Real Madrid
Karim Benzema has made a habit of scoring key goals for Los Blancos.
There was never a shred of doubt in anyone’s mind that Karim Benzema would end up being the key player for Los Blancos in El Clasico. He is the man in form at the moment and is making scoring goals look easy.
The Frenchman bagged an assist for the opening goal of the game and hit the post before scoring from close range himself. It was a flawless performance from Benzema as he did everything right. He created three key passes and was dispossessed just once throughout the game.
Carlo Ancelotti will be counting on their star player when they head to the final to face either Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao.