The Supercopa offers a great chance for Barcelona and Real Madrid, in difficult moments with bruised egos, to get their hands on the first piece of silverware available to them this season and set themselves up nicely for the second part of the campaign.
The Blaugrana held up their end of the bargain, edging past Real Sociedad last night in Cordoba. Madrid looked to do the same tonight at La Rosaleda, where they also faced Basque opposition in Athletic Bilbao.
They couldn’t, however, mirror their Catalan rivals and set up a Clasico final. Athletic went into the break two goals to the good, and despite pulling one back and having an equaliser disallowed Los Blancos were beaten 2-1.
Los Blancos came into the game in second place in La Liga, four points behind Atletico Madrid but with two games more played than their city rivals.
Madrid flew directly to Malaga from Pamplona, as Storm Filomena meant they couldn’t return home to Madrid after their draw at Osasuna last weekend.
Things didn’t start well for them. Athletic pounced on a mistake from the usually reliable Lucas Vazquez before finding Raul Garcia in a dangerous spot. The former Atletico man was ruthless with his finish, arrowing well past Thibaut Courtois.
Garcia, enjoying himself in the Andalusian night, doubled his tally shortly before half-time. Vazquez, most certainly not enjoying himself, knocked over Iker Muniain to concede a penalty that Garcia smashed into the top right corner.
Karim Benzema pulled one back in the 73rd minute, finishing neatly only for suspicions of offside to call in VAR. It was ruled legal and onside, so Los Blancos saw play restart with just over 15 minutes to keep their hunt for a place in the final alive.
Benzema had the ball in the net again under ten minutes later, taking a pass on the right side before cutting in to the left and slotting past Unai Simon. This time, however, it was ruled offside.