Barca edge Real in first leg

Barcelona hold the advantage heading into the second leg of the Supercopa de Espana over rivals Real Madrid, but Victor Valdes is left embarrassed.

The Super Cup pits last year’s Copa del Rey winners – Barca – against last year’s League champions – Real. This first leg clash was the fourth Clasico meeting between two of the calendar year, with next week’s second leg and a League meeting in October also due before the year is out. This year’s Super Cup was also a repeat of 2011’s clash, which was won by Barcelona.

Both Tito Vilanova and Jose Mourinho chose to make a handful of changes from the weekend, going into Thursday’s game.

After an energetic start from both sides, Barcelona eventually took control of possession, as Real moved to a compact shape in their own half. As the home side subsequently struggled for early space in the final third, Los Blancos threatened on a couple of occasions to counter-attack.

With both teams having exchanged a couple of half-chances with each other, it was Lionel Messi who had the first clear opportunity on 19. Xavi Hernandez’s pass out to the right found a Dani Alves run, whilst his cut-back to Messi on the edge of the area was only followed by the Argentine’s pulled effort wide of the left post.

Fabio Coentrao was forced into a block from the edge of his penalty area from Xavi, having gifted the midfielder possession close to the half-hour mark. A minute later and Messi had Barca’s second clear chance, as the ball broke loose on the edge of the box, but his low cross-goal effort was a few metres wide.

Karim Benzema worked space in the opponents’ penalty box on a counter-attack soon after that, but his shot was deflected out for a corner.

Pedro drew Iker Casillas into his first save of the night a few minutes later, forcing the ‘keeper to parry his high, curling and central effort out for a corner.

Victor Valdes then sought his first active touch of the ball in open play moments later as he was forced to come out and meet a dangerous Mesut Ozil cross with two Real Madrid shirts lurking.

With seven minutes until the break, there were loud penalty calls from the home side, as Alexis fell near the presence of a sliding Sergio Ramos approaching the by-line. However, a corner was awarded to Barca.

The second period was activated eight minutes in as Alexis again clashed with a Real defender – this time Arvalo Arbeloa – in the penalty area and again saw claims for a penalty denied.

Less than two minutes later, Real took the lead, as Ozil’s corner kick was met by a strong Cristiano Ronaldo header that left Valdes stranded.

However, the lead lasted all of a minute, as a long ball from Javier Mascherano found Pedro the wrong side of Coentrao and he was able to run into the area and finish low to Casillas’ right.

Real threatened to make it three goals in three minutes as Ronaldo burst into the area at the other end, but his cut-back failed to find either teammate who had followed him into the box.

On the hour mark, a Messi run split Real’s defensive line and allowed for Alves to be played in on the right. His cut inside and shot forced Casillas to push the ball out for a corner. From that set-play, Pique almost capitalised, but his header was two yards over.

Substitute Gonzalo Higuian was quickly found with a couple of crosses at the other end, with his second chance forcing a block from Mascherano, just as the follow up from Xabi Alonso did of Adriano.

After a slight lull in tempo midway through the half, Barca won a penalty, as Andres Iniesta checked inside near the by-line to catch out the sliding Ramos, who brought him down.

Messi dispatched the spot-kick to Casillas’ left, as the ‘keeper jumped in the other direction.

A raking pass from Alonso found Ozil on the edge of Barcelona’s penalty area, but the German was unable to control it fully, as it was knocked out for a corner.

It was 3-1 with 12 minutes to play, as Iniesta’s weaving central run and clever slide pass found teammate Xavi through on goal, for the midfielder to then side-foot past Casillas.

From almost going 4-1 up through a Messi chance that was saved by Casillas, Valdes then gifted Real a second goal to make it 3-2, as he took one touch too many with Angel Di Maria charging him down. The Argentine managed to wrestle possession and poke the ball into an empty net.

Barcelona 3-2 Real Madrid

Scorers: Ronaldo 54 (RM), Pedro 56 (B), Messi pen 70 (B), Xavi 78 (B), Di Maria 85 (RM)

Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi (Fabregas 83), Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro (Alba 87), Messi, Alexis (Tello 72)

Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Albiol, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Khedira; Callejon (Di Maria 65), Ozil (Marcelo 82), Ronaldo; Benzema (Higuain 61)

Ref: Clos Gomez

Tags Clasico Super Cup Supercopa de Espana
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