Spanish Super Cup Second Leg Preview
On Wednesday, August 16, Real Madrid will host Barcelona in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup to decide who will take the first piece of domestic silverware in Spain this season. Real Madrid already have the UEFA Super Cup in their cabinet, and they’ve set themselves up well to have two trophies before kicking off their La Liga season against Deportivo La Coruna.
First leg packed with action
A closely contested affair saw the scoring get started via an own goal from Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, who sent the low cross from Real Madrid’s left-back, Marcelo, past his own goalkeeper five minutes into the second half. Eight minutes later, Karim Benzema made way for Cristiano Ronaldo, who would prove to be the catalyst to the headline events in this first El Clasico of the new season.
But first, Barcelona would level the score line via a penalty from Lionel Messi. The circumstances of the penalty were dubious, to say the least, with Luis Suarez taking a dive and making the most of it to sway the referee. Just three minutes later, though, Cristiano Ronaldo scored an emphatic goal on a counter-attack hatched by Isco. Ronaldo went shirts-off for his celebration and got booked.
Just a couple of minutes later, Ronaldo battled Samuel Umtiti approaching the Barcelona box and ended up on the floor. It looked to be a fair out-muscling from the Barcelona center-back and play should have continued, but the referee decided to give Ronaldo a second booking for diving.
Ronaldo made matters worse for himself by giving the referee a push after being given his marching orders, which has seen his ban extended to five games. Sergio Asensio wrapped up the game near full-time with a crafty shot to give Real Madrid a 3-1 lead heading back to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Second leg could see fireworks
Despite having a 3-1 lead, Real Madrid will feel hard done by with their star player being banned for the game as well as the manner of his dismissal being so feeble. Suarez dived and won a penalty, whereas Ronaldo was muscled to the ground and was booked for diving. So a more heated affair in the second leg can be expected. To win the tie, the bookies are split, with Real Madrid at 11/8 and Barcelona at 33/20.
Real Madrid will likely line-up with a very similar starting XI in the second leg, with the strong bodies of Toni Kroos, Mateo Kovacic, and Casemiro being very effective in central midfield. Barcelona, on the other hand, may want to consider a change. Gerard Deulofeu, who played in Neymar’s old position, failed to impress, so Barcelona may consider a shuffle in formation from a three-pronged attack to just two, possibly adding a more defensive presence to the midfield alongside Sergio Busquets to hold off the incredibly talented Isco in Real Madrid’s attacking midfield.
The second leg of the Spanish Super Cup is set to be an exciting one, with everyone waiting to see who will shine in place of Cristiano Ronaldo, and if Barcelona can make up for the Neymar sized ho