Real Madrid won the first semi-final in the Spanish Super Cup. The number two of the previous competition season was in the Saudi capital Riyadh, where the mini-tournament will also be finished in exchange for many millions in the coming years, after extension with 3-2 too strong for cup winner Barcelona.
Ferran Torres, recently taken over from Manchester City, made his debut at Barcelona and Luuk de Jong and Frenkie de Jong, who recovered from a muscle injury, were also in the starting lineup. Memphis Depay started on the bench and saw from there how Real Madrid took a wait-and-see attitude, but in the counterattack they were the most dangerous team in the first half.
Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio had already had scoring opportunities when Barcelona veteran Sergio Busquets, who had started his 42nd Clásico, was surprised in midfield by Karim Benzema. Real quickly took over the attack and took the lead via a swipe by Vinícius.
Weather Luuk de Jong
The Catalans responded with two headers from Luuk de Jong, who had success with the head in the past two league games but now found Thibaut Courtois on his way. However, the Belgian closing post had no chance when Éder Militão wanted to shoot the ball out of the goal mouth, but hit De Jong’s right leg and caromed the ball through the post into the Madrid goal.
After the break, Frenkie de Jong made way for Pedri, who made his comeback on the football field after an absence of 122 days. The 19-year-old Golden Boy, who played 73 games last season but had only been able to play for his club four times after the summer, quickly showed himself with a slider that rolled just next to it. Ousmane Dembélé’s shot also missed the target.
Real Madrid only managed to counter that twenty minutes before the end, but then it was immediately shocked for Xavi’s men. Benzema released beautifully and hit the post out of reach of Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Shortly afterwards, the German goalkeeper had to stretch with a shot by the French striker, after which the attack continued and Benzema still found the net.
Stocking up on the head
A line through the Catalan account, but Barcelona, with Depay now in the team, showed resilience and came alongside for the second time thanks to a header from Ansu Fati who came in for Luuk de Jong: 2-2. An extension followed.
The current number six of La Liga seemed to want to push on against the leader, who has collected no less than seventeen points. However, after a quick counter, it got the stock on the head in the first overtime. Federico Valverde was allowed to finish: 3-2.
Barcelona did not give up yet, but Courtois turned out to be unstoppable. It was Real Madrid’s hundredth victory in El Clásico, the Catalans remain on 96 victories after 248 classics.
On Thursday, national champions Atlético Madrid and losing cup finalist Athletic Club will compete for the other place in the final battle, which is scheduled for Sunday (kick-off 7.30 pm).