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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Real Madrid lift Spanish Super Cup with win over Athletic Bilbao

Real Madrid lifted the Spanish Super Cup as they eased to victory over Athletic Club in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Goals from Luka Modric and Karim Benzema were enough to dispatch the Lions as Los Blancos hardly needed to get out of third gear.

In a game where Carlo Ancelotti was looking to win his first trophy back in his second stint as Madrid manager, he can be pleased in the performance of two of his ‘golden oldies’ as 34-year-old Benzema and 36-year-old Modric came up with the goods to take the trophy back to the Spanish capital.

The first goal was textbook Real: attacking with thrust and guile down the right as Modric fed Rodrygo, and the young Brazilian slipped it back into the path of the Croat to bend home inside the near post.

The lead could have been extended before halftime. Casemiro had two chances that tested Unai Simon in the Athletic goal, the first a drive towards the near post and the second a header from the resulting corner, but the Spain number one was equal to both efforts.

Iker Muniain and Inaki Williams tried their very best to get Marcelino’s side back into the game, but they just could not match the quality on show from their opposition, and the game was beyond all doubt only seven minutes into the second half, as Yeray was unfortunately alleged to have handballed a scuffed Benzema effort and VAR gave a dubious penalty. Benzema dusted himself down and finish with aplomb, but Simon got a piece of it and could not keep it out – much to his fury.

A flurry of changes on the hour from the Bilbao manager saw an improvement in their press and their on-the-ball play, and Raul Garcia was the guilty party as he snatched at two decent opportunities to get the Basque side back into the game as Real’s defence were momentarily at sixes and sevens.

Another penalty was awarded after a handball from Eder Militao was adjudged to have stopped the ball crossing the line after a Raul Garcia header from a Yuri Berchiche cross, and the Brazilian defender was controversially dismissed for a deliberate handball.

Garcia was promptly stopped by Thibaut Courtois, the Belgian’s trailing leg halting a poor penalty down the middle to sum up Bilbao’s night.

Real played confidently and rounded the game off professionally, controlling the tempo and patterns of play through their experienced engine room, and they still had their threat in behind with the dangerous pace of Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo down the flanks.

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