Real Madrid dealt a new blow to Xavi Hernández’s Barcelona by leaving it out this Wednesday of the Spanish Super Cup, which is being played – paradoxically – in Saudi Arabia.
The set led by the Italian Carlo Ancelotti won 3-2 in the first semifinal of the contest and wait for the winner of the crossing this Thursday -from 16, by DirecTV Sports- between Atlético de Madrid and Athletic Bilbao to meet his rival in the final on Sunday 16.
The story was only defined in overtime, after a development that was dominated by Real Madrid, who came to take the lead twice during the 90 minutes of regular time. At 25, the Brazilian Vinicius opened the account while the center forward Dutch Luuk de Jong it equaled 41 for the Catalans.
In the second part, French Karim Benzema put the 2 to 1 at 72 while the promising youth Ansu Fati, who had entered at 65, put the tie at 83.
In overtime, another entered, the Uruguayan Francisco Valverde, put final figures at 98 for Merengue to advance to the final of the contest.
So things, Xavi suffers a setback again since he assumed the leadership of a Barcelona in the process of reconstruction. To the elimination of the Champions League and the sixth place in LaLiga (17 points behind the leader Real Madrid), the exit from the Super Cup in the semifinals is now added.
Since he arrived at the Culé bank to replace the Dutch Ronald Koeman, Xavi adds 12 games, with 5 wins, 4 draws and 3 losses.
Despite the fact that the main objective of the team for the remainder of the season is finish among the top four places in LaLiga and thus qualify for the next Champions League, Barça is still alive in the Copa del Rey, where they will face Athletic in the round of 16 on Wednesday 19.
In the other side, Real Madrid, without the lights of recent times, continues at a firm pace in a season in which it hardly knew defeat. Of 29 games, he adds 22 wins, 4 draws and just 3 falls, led by the offensive duo made up of Benzema and Vinicius, who have scored 38 goals so far.
Meanwhile, he leads comfortably in Spain, continues in the race in the Super Cup, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, where they will face Paris Saint-Germain of Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos in the round of 16, starting Tuesday, February 15.
The Spanish Super Cup, it is worth remembering, changed its format in recent years and succumbed to the economic power of the petrodollar. As of 2020, the contest went from being a one-off match to holding two semi-finals and one final as part of an agreement signed with Saudi Arabia, which will host the Super Cup until 2030 in exchange for 30 million euros per edition.
Anyway, the current one is the second Super Cup that is played on Saudi soil since in 2021 it ended up being held in Spain for pandemic reasons.