A grown and mature Real Madrid imposed its bone and will play the final of the Super Cup. A Barça to do remained on the shore, but in these times of anxiety it recovered its best recruits and demanded a great deal from its perpetual rival. Arguments that today can even serve as relief after a defeat. Ansu and Pedri responded to two classics of these times: Vinicius and Benzema. The finishing touch of a great game was put by Valverde in extra time, a third time that Barça, in tow, with the hook all night, closed with a blow to the chest.
Ter Stegen, Piqué, Alves (Nico González, min. 77), Ronald Araújo, Alba, Busquets, Frenkie De Jong (Pedri, min. 45), Pablo Páez Gavira (Depay, min. 77), Ferrán Torres (Abdessamad Ezzalzouli, min. 45), Luuk de Jong (Ansu Fati, min. 65) and Ousmane Dembélé
Courtois, Dani Carvajal (Lucas Vázquez, min. 90), Eder Militao, Nacho, Ferland Mendy, Modric (Federico Valverde, min. 82), Kroos, Casemiro, Benzema, Marco Asensio (Rodrygo, min. 67) and Vinicius Junior ( Camavinga, min. 109)
Goals 0-1 min. 24: Vinicius Junior. 1-1 min. 40: Luuk de Jong. 1-2 min. 71: Benzema. 2-2 min. 82: Ansu Fati. 2-3 min. 97: Federico Valverde.
Yellow cards Ferrán Torres (min. 22), Alves (min. 50), Casemiro (min. 74) and Federico Valverde (min. 98)
Xavi warned that this Barça looking for a compass urgently needs an overdose of self-esteem. No therapy better than a classic, the first outsider classic. The Barça coach opted for an alignment with rennet, although for this he would have to recruit a twilight player (Alves), a debutant without filming for three months (Ferran), a one-handed operation only six days ago (Araujo) and a footballer pushed to international soccer Siberia with all kinds of cuchufletas (Luuk de Jong). It was not a poster for those boys who had just arrived at base camp, Nico, Abde, Jutglà …
From the outset, with this format, Barça challenged a Madrid who had reached the Super Cup with the popular opinion in favor. Without Praise, but Real appeared at the game as Real, lined up in front of Courtois and with the pretense of attacking at full speed. The Barcelona team felt conditioned. Fearful of the virtues of others, he wanted to prevent his rival from playing the cornet. Not only did he fail, but he was denatured. It unfolded with a bland cadence. On low heat, but it turned out to be imprecise. Nobody wanted to risk, but the losses added. Out of place Gavi and the irrelevant Frenkie de Jong, very advanced as stopper flyers, each swipe or mistake gave Madrid a clue. Those of Ancelotti opened gas and closed the attacks. The script was accentuated with the most unexpected oversight. Busquets, a radar in boots, was drugged against Benzema. Pillo, the Frenchman flocked the ball and summoned Vinicius with the goal, luck with which he flirts as if he were a distant relative of Vinicius who landed in Chamartín. Today is the turbine of this Madrid. A left foot and the casserole.
Without chicha until then, Barça hung on Dembélé. There had only been news of Ferran over the public address system. The French winger, so spasmodic, gave several warnings to Madrid. Barça, so attached to the spinning game, mutated and entrusted itself to the threats of Dembélé and the header of Luuk de Jong. Anything goes when the need is pressing. As the dissonant Luuk has been enlightened for days, they go up to the rebounds. Militão cleared badly and the ball hit the Dutchman, the post and the basket. Madrid foreshadowed more, but after the truce they were evenly matched.
Xavi tied Pedri through the invisible Frenkie de Jong, again passing through a game, and Abde gave Ferran a break. Pedri’s impact was immediate. Another Barça, better structured, more spicy. Barça finished off, Madrid recoiled. But the Real is not lacking in lives. Team of a thousand battles, knows how to resist like few others. And he has people like Modric, that stainless Croat who with Ancelotti as an alchemist seems to sip the elixir of eternity. With Modric as manager for everything, Madrid returned to balance the clash.
The meeting took flight back and forth. Barça did not diminish, emotionally and sportingly reinforced with Ansu. On the other side, before the squad adjusted, Benzema’s best footsteps arrived. Ter Stegen’s right post repelled a shot from the white captain. Without pause, because this Benzema is launched, he put the German goalkeeper into orbit twice. He finished off the second with the 1-2 after an effort from Carvajal.
The game had plot, nerve, suspense. There were no water carriers. And in the transit from area to area Ansu, for whom the goal is not forgotten, caught a header between Militão and Mendy. Barça was already wearing a thong, with few defenders and an offensive squad. Without remedy, the extension as a stretch, already with the exhausted people, the Madrid veterans and the new Barça players.
It was with all of Barça, with three defenders hand in hand with the white attackers. Risk and uncover. To his own Madrid. You know, waiting for a lightning strike. Everyone threw their dice until, of course, Rodrygo put in the turbo on the run, a handful of meringues arrived like wolves and Valverde, who has legs, holed the corkscrew. Madrid was Madrid and it already has its end. The Barça that is looking for Barça knew how to compete and left Arabia with the high of almost everyone and greater consolation. Another horizon.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.