It was Real Madrid’s old reliable stars who delivered them the cup on Sunday. Who other than Toni Kroos and goal scorer Luka Modric in midfield, alongside Karim Benzema up top would deliver the final of the Spanish Super Cup. Real was too good in possession for Athletic Club to get any real chances and finished with a 2-0 victory. This now puts Real Madrid one title behind Barcelona’s 13 for being the most successful club in the history of the Super Cup.
From the first kick, it was all Real but Athletic’s defensive partnership of Yeray Alvarez and Inigo Martinez was well drilled to protect Unai Simon in goal. Athletic Club wanted to hit Madrid on the counter via Inaki Williams and were prepared to soak up pressure. But that is always a dangerous game to play against a team that can cut you apart like La Liga’s current leaders.
Toni Kroos would send in a warning signal in the sixth minute as his through ball to Vinicius Jr cut through Athletic Club’s defense but Simon would beat Vinicius to the ball. Athletic got going on the counter via Williams but an excellent slide tackle from David Alaba would clean up the danger. While there were calls for handball on the tackle, Alaba was in a natural position and didn’t make his body bigger and it was waved off.
Los Blancos then kicked it into gear with Karim Benzema firing his shot just wide as they took advantage of overloads in wide areas to create their chances. Athletic were having issues tracking which of Vinicus Jr or Benzema were wide and the chances for Real began to mount. Following one of Real’s first counters of the match, Casemiro stung Simon’s gloves after taking care of the chance created by Oihan Sancet on the other end.
Real got their lead before the half after a mazy run from Rodrygo created just enough space for the midfield maestro Luka Modric to score from the top of the 18-yard-box.
Simon never had a chance on the shot from Modric as he got Real in front and it was a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Marcelino made a change for Atletic at the half, opting to bring on Nico Williams to replace Alex Berenguer in an attempt to push the pace, but Real Madrid would find another goal through a slight bit of good fortune. Benzema’s shot was blocked in the box by Yeray but it went to a VAR review to make a decision on a potential handball.
The penalty was given and Marcelino also picked up a yellow card on the sidelines for something that he said in protest to the decision given. Once he stepped up, Benzema converted a cold finish from the spot to double Real’s lead in the 52nd minute.
Up against it, Athletic Club made a triple change and hoped that Real Madrid didn’t put this match out of sight following the penalty. Real went into cruise control though and played the rest of the match at a walking pace. Athletic created a few chances as Real took their foot off the gas but Los Blancos fended them off with relative ease.
Marcelo was brought into the game late to have a part in his 23rd trophy for Real Madrid. Athletic later appealed for a handball of their own as Eder Militao denied a goal-scoring opportunity conceding Raul Garcia’s penalty. After a brief review, Militao was sent off but Athletic still wouldn’t get a consolation goal.
It might have taken Real keeper Thibaut Courtois a while to be called into action but he was ready for his moment saving the penalty from Garcia.
Courtois needed a bit of improvisation as the penalty went down the middle but was able to adjust his feet to save it and keep Real Madrid’s 2-0 advantage intact as they went under siege from Athletic to close out the match.
Sitting ninth in La Liga, Athletic would like a trophy this season but facing Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey on Thursday will be a tough test. For Real, they’ll be traveling to Elche as the La Liga winners look to do a domestic treble capturing La Liga, the Super Cup, and the Copa Del Rey.