Barcelona were crowned Spanish Super Cup champions after goals from Javi, Robert Lewandowski and Badri secured a 3-1 win over arch-rivals Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Barcelona, who gave Xavi his first title as coach of the Catalan club, dominated every aspect of the match and took advantage of three mistakes made by Real Madrid to score.
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For the second match in a row, Carlo Ancelotti said after the match that his side weren’t firing on all cylinders – the same feeling he shared after their penalty shootout win over Valencia in the semi-finals – after Barcelona were outclassed at all stages.
“We have to learn [from this]. Ancelotti said it was a difficult moment. We knew before this match that the team was not at its best. This game has shown some issues that we need to improve. We’ll be back, it’s a blow, but we’ll prepare for the next game.
“The game started even, there wasn’t much tempo, but after they scored the first goal they had more confidence. We gave them the first two goals.
“[We have] To act, to look at the mistakes we made. In the [semifinal] Against Valencia we were better at defending and today we made mistakes again. We have to work on that.”
Xivi unleashed an upset when he moved from his usual 4-3-3 system to play an extra man in midfield with only Lewandowski up front, while centre-back Ronald Araujo was deployed at right-back to try to slow down Real’s sensational winger Vinicius. junior.
Vinicius was largely an unknown, while Gavi played through the left channel paying dividends as the youngster scored the opening goal and provided two assists.
The LaLiga leaders took the lead in the 33rd minute after Real defender Antonio Rudiger slotted across his area to Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets, who started a move that ended with Javi alone inside the box to score with a left-footed shot.
Busquets said after the victory: “We strengthened the midfield to look for control of that area and Araujo was really good at stopping Vinicius’ counters, we left them with no options and we felt very comfortable.”
“We knew it was an opportunity we had to seize. We are going through a period of changes at the club and in the dressing room and this win will strengthen us to keep fighting for more titles.”
Lewandowski extended the lead after 12 minutes on the counter when he found Frenkie de Young Jaffe, who trailed behind the Real defense line, before putting it in a painting for the Polish striker, who scored into the empty net.
Real Madrid, who hadn’t shot on target in the first half, spent most of the second half in a panic, trying to avoid an even bigger defeat.
However, a costly mistake again allowed Barcelona to score. Substitute Dani Ceballos lost the ball in the middle of the field and Javi rushed forward and crossed for Pedri to hit a black point into the empty net.
Karim Benzema scored a goal for Real Madrid in stoppage time, shooting the net into the net after Marc-Andre ter Stegen refused his first attempt.