Real Madrid win the Super Cup

Real Madrid have won the Supercopa de Espana thanks predominantly to a second-leg first-half blitz against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.

From the first leg that finished 3-2 to Barca at Camp Nou, Jose Mourinho was able to make four changes to his starting XI, notably welcoming back Pepe in place of Raul Albiol and bringing in Marcelo for the suspended Fabio Coentrao.

Tito Vilanova had intended with the same Blaugrana XI that began that first leg, but Dani Alves was a late withdrawal through injury, so in came Jordi Alba, with Adriano switching flanks.

New Real signing Luka Modric was the bench, but Carles Puyol, who fractured his cheekbone at the weekend, was not.

Real had the first clear chance of the night on six minutes, when Marcelo’s quick pass into the area found Gonzalo Higuain in space between the centre-backs, but his low shot was kept out by Victor Valdes.

Five minutes later, Higuain took his second chance, as Mascherano misjudged a long ball by missing his clearance, allowing his fellow Argentine through on goal to finish underneath a charging Valdes.

Marcelo had the next notable attempt, as he flashed an effort across the penalty area and out of play.

It was 2-0 before the midway point of the half, as Cristiano Ronaldo capitalised on Barca hesitancy to flick the ball over Gerard Pique and into open space, before taking his time to fire a low shot that flew into the net off the despairing Valdes.

By 22, it could have been 3-0 as Higuain was again played through for a one-on-one with Valdes, but the ‘keeper was equal to his low shot.

Real thought it was three when Sergio Ramos headed in a Xabi Alonso set-piece from the left, but the referee disallowed the goal immediately, most likely for pushing in the area.

It went from bad to worse for the visitors as Adriano was dismissed before the half-hour mark for pulling down Ronaldo when the Portuguese had 40 yards of free grass towards goal to run into.

Higuain had another clear chance when Ronaldo’s quick diagonal pass found him with space in the penalty area, but he dallied in controlling and Mascherano was able to block his shot with a well-timed challenge.

Andrea Iniesta drove an in-swinging curling shot across the goal, but substitute Montoya wasn’t fast enough to reach it in time.

However, Barca finished the half with a glimmer of hope, as Lionel Messi produced a moment of magic from 35 yards to curl a free-kick outside the wall and past Iker Casillas into his top right-hand corner.

Ronaldo looked to answer Messi with an immediate 35-yard effort of his own at the other end that flashed just wide of the post, whilst Di Maria then pulled a left-footed effort wide of Valdes’ far post.

A quieter second half of Barcelona possession play was interrupted by Pedro’s golden chance to equalise just past the hour mark. A long pass to the winger caught out the Real back-line, but whilst Pedro was able to bring the ball down, he couldn’t beat Casillas between the sticks.

A surging run a few minutes later from Pedro saw him pass Ramos into the area, but again his shot was straight at Los Blancos’ ‘keeper.

At the other end, Sami Khedira woke up the Barca defence with a similar drive towards goal, as he ran through markers to dink an effort at Valdes, who was equal to it.

With 15 minutes to go, Alex Song was handed his Barcelona debut, when he came on to replace Sergio Busquets.

Messi dropped deep to play a lifted pass through Real’s defence for an accelerating Jordi Alba, but the full-back was just beaten to the ball by a defender as he threatened to go past Casillas.

The home side had the chance for a third and again it was handed to Higuain with a one-on-one, but a slight deflection from Mascherano’s saving challenge saw the striker’s effort clip the outside of Valdes’ left post and out.

With 10 minutes of play remaining, Luka Modric replaced Mesut Ozil for his Real Madrid debut and as the clock ticked over 90 minutes he had a great chance to score, as Karin Benzema’s cut-back found him free in the box, but for his shot to be blocked by Valdes.

Montoya then had a late chance at the other end when played through, but Casillas pushed his effort behind. Messi then flashed an effort from outside the area just wide.

Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona (aggregate 4-4)

Higuain 11 (RM), Ronaldo 18 (RM), Messi 45 (B)

Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona (aggregate 4-3)

Scorers: Higuain 11 (RM), Ronaldo 18 (RM), Messi 45

Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Alonso, Khedira; Di Maria (Callejon 79), Ozil (Modric 83), Ronaldo; Higuain (Benzema 82)

Barcelona: Valdes; Adriano, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets (Song 75), Iniesta; Pedro (Tello 82), Messi, Alexis (Montoya 32)

Ref: Mateu Lahoz

Adriano sent off 28

Tags Higuain Messi Ronaldo Super Cup Supercopa de Espana
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