January 13, (THEWILL) – Real Madrid defeated Barcelona in the Supercopa de Espana semi-finals at King Fahd Stadium.
Real Madrid entered the encounter in Saudi Arabia 17 points ahead of their biggest league opponents. Barcelona had hoped to save their floundering season and begin something of a resurgence under Xavi Hernandez.
Having finished sixth and having been eliminated from the Champions League, this was an opportunity to turn things around with the help of debutant Ferran Torres, who was finally able to play after his move from Manchester City.
Good enough for them, Barcelona dominated possession from the start, but it was Real Madrid who were honing their edge as Vinicius Jr began to go at the 38-year-old Alves. He opened the scoring after bursting through the Barcelona defence and latching onto Benzema’s pass.
Barcelona eventually roused themselves and began to press. Their equaliser came as they burst out of middle. Luuk De Jong did not know much about it, but the ball bounced off the striker and through a stranded Courtois while Real Madrid attempted to clear.
Benzema rattled the post with 20 minutes remaining as Real Madrid continued to threaten on the break. Soon after, the France striker scored after Carvajal recycled his curling shot.
But Barcelona battled their way back into the game with a simple header from the returning talented youngster Ansu Fati, forcing the Supercopa into extra time.
Real Madrid launched another counterattack just minutes into extra time. Vinicius Jr. was once again in the centre of the action, selling the dummy that knocked down two defenders and allowed Valverde to slide home.
Barcelona kept pushing and looked like a much better squad but the game came to a close without another equaliser and there was no final goal to force penalties. Real advances and will meet either Athletic Madrid or Athletic Bilbao in the final on Sunday.