Monday, May 21, 2018

Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona: Los Blancos Cruise In Second Leg, Claim 2017 Spanish Super Cup

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, La Liga 16 Aug 2017

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It is safe to say Real Madrid did not miss Cristiano Ronaldo in the first game of a five-match ban.

Los Merengues cruised their way in the 2017 Spanish Super Cup second leg against FC Barcelona. Led by an inspiring performance from Marco Asensio and a solid dominant effort that annulled Lionel Messi, Real Madrid did not have problems to win their second title of the season. Real won 2-0 at Santiago Bernabeu and 5-1 on the aggregate score. And honestly, the final outcome in this second leg should have been bigger.

Dominant First Half For Madrid Thanks To Asensio’s Early Blast

Barcelona looked lost early on and Real Madrid did not waste any time. In fact, Los Merengues broke the deadlock before the fifth minute thanks to Asensio, easily one of the best players on the Bernabeu pitch. The winger blasted a 30-yard shot that sneaked right into the upper 90 leaving Marc-Andre Ter Stegen helpless. One would have thought Barcelona would have reacted after the goal, but they struggled to wake up, and that allowed Madrid to move the ball around with relative ease in the early going.

Barca began to muster a few interesting movements, but lacked a spark in the final meters. Messi carried the team on his back, but neither Andre Gomes nor Luis Suarez could find themselves in position near the box. Suarez’s case was quite sad for Barca fans, as the Uruguayan looked lost and the duo of Raphaël Varane and Sergio Ramos annulled him with ease.

On the other hand, Real Madrid looked comfortable in possession. Marcelo was a constant menace on the left flank, and Asensio created havoc all over the final third against Barca’s sloppy defensive line. In fact, Los Blancos came close to add a second goal in the 33th minute but Lucas Vazquez’s effort smashed the post after a big mistake from Javier Mascherano.

Madrid’s high-pressing tactic eventually paid off and Karim Benzema expanded Real’s lead. Sergio Busquets lost the ball outside the box, and a low cross from Marcelo found the French striker, who had no problems to put the ball past Ter Stegen. The first half ended 2-0 for Madrid thanks to a dominant effort across the board.

Barcelona’s Reaction Was Not Enough

Los Blaugranas knew they needed four goals to turn things around, and they began to play higher up the pitch in the second half. Messi tried to take over and was close to pulling one back, but the crossbar denied his attempt in the 53rd minute. Real could have added a third goal as well, but Ter Stegen denied Benzema with a great stop from close range.

Barcelona’s improvements continue and came close to score again in the 64th when a low cross couldn’t hit Sergi Roberto. Suarez also had a chance with a header from close range but he couldn’t hit the target. But it must be noted that even though Barcelona looked slightly better, they simply couldn’t upset Madrid. Los Merengues looked extremely comfortable out there, perhaps knowing they had a healthy lead on the aggregate score.

Barcelona continued to create chances, though. Sergi Roberto failed to convert a one-on-one in the 70th minute, and only a few seconds later Suarez bounced a header off the crossbar when Keylor Navas was absolutely beaten.

There was not a lot of action in the final 20 minutes. Barcelona tried their best to turn things around, but their subs did not have much of an impact on the game. Meanwhile, Real Madrid opted to tighten things up defensively and chose to close the spaces for a Barca side that did not have many ideas in the final third. It was a sad performance from Barcelona who have looked light years behind last year’s version so far.

Final Thoughts

Real Madrid looked absolutely impressive. Despite the fact they played with an alternative side in this second leg, Real cruised to an easy 2-0 win and made Barca looked like a low-tier side. And it’s only August, meaning the team has nowhere to go but up in the coming weeks.

On the other hand, Barcelona did not look good in these two matches against Real Madrid. They might improve the side adding players such as Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, but nonetheless Ernesto Valverde has A LOT of work to do if he wants to catch up with Real Madrid.

Absolutely deserved win for Real Madrid who have already won two titles in the first week of the campaign. Things certainly look promising for Los Blancos in the short-, mid-, and long-term future.

Match Report

Real Madrid: Navas; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kovacic (Casemiro 62′), Kroos (Dani Ceballos 80′), Modric; Marco Asensio (Theo 75′), Benzema, Lucas Vazquez

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Umtiti, Mascherano, Pique (Semedo 50′); Sergi Roberto, Andre Gomes (Deulofeu 72′), Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba (Digne 78′); Rakitic; Suarez, Messi

Goals: Asensio (4′, 1-0), Benzema (2-0, 39′)


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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