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Spanish Super Cup: Madrid pip Barca

32,000 spectators at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, enjoyed the liveliest El-Clasico in recent times as Real Madrid made their way into the Spanish Super Cup final in courtesy of Fede Valverde’s extra-time goal. 

Once he recovers from the heartbreak, Xavi Hernandez would be happy with the spirited display his side produced and hope they can bring this momentum to their La Liga campaign. 

Madrid score first

After wasting a handful of chances, Real Madrid deservingly went ahead through Vinicius Jr. halfway through the first half.

Karim Benzema stole the ball from Sergio Busquets and sent a piercing through-ball dissecting the Barcelona backline.

Vinicius beat Ronald Araujo to get to it and sent the ball into the net, scoring his 15th goal of the season.

The goal came as a wake-up call for the Blaugrana as Luuk de Jong forced Thibaut Courtois into making a save, before bizarrely drawing the scores level on the brink of half time.

Eder Militao attempted to clear a low cross from Ousmane Dembele, but the ball smacked into de Jong and crawled into the net, beating a surprised Courtois.

Barcelona stepped up their attacking efforts and came close to taking the lead several times after the break.

But, Dembele and Pedri could not capitalize on the chances.

Soon, Real Madrid made Barca regret their missed opportunities.

Benzema puts Madrid ahead again

Benzema, who engineered Madrid’s first goal, got his name into the score sheet three minutes after rattling the woodwork.

Dani Carvajal found the Frenchman with his centre, and the ever-reliable number nine made no mistake to bag his 25th goal of the season.

With only 18 minutes left to play, many might have thought Madrid have ensured their ticket for the final, but Barcelona were not ready to give up just yet.

Questions will be asked about Madrid’s defending that allowed Ansu Fati isolated inside the box and be on the receiving end of a Jordi Alba cross uninterrupted.

The youngster marked his return from injury with a glancing header that restored parity in the game once again.

Valverde seals it

But that was the end of Barca’s resistance for the night, as they had no answer to substitute Fede Valverde’s 98thminute goal that decided the fate of the tie.

Valverde finished off a brilliant Real Madrid counter-attack before Rodrygo wasted an easy chance to put the game to bed. 

It was Real Madrid’s 100th Clasico win in their 248th encounter with their arch-rivals and their fifth successive win in the most decorative fixture of Spanish football. 

Madrid will face Athletic Bilbao who overcame Atletico Madrid in the other semi-final.

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