Goals from Gavi, Robert Lewandowski and Pedri earned Barcelona a surprisingly comfortable Clasico win in the Supercopa de Espana final on Sunday.
Barcelona led Real Madrid throughout the encounter at the King Fahd International Stadium with young goalscorers Pedri and Gavi inspiring their team to victory.
Barca were the much better team in the opening exchanges and created the first two real openings of the game. The first would fall to Ronald Araujo, who was unmarked at the back post from a set-piece by Pedri, but was simply unable to slide far enough to knock the ball into another from sixteen yards. And the second came courtesy of Robert Lewandowski, who forced Thibaut Courtois into a superb save with his shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Those two chances seemed to wake Real Madrid up a bit and the Champions League holders would soon go to the other end of the park and create a big chance of their own. Ferland Mendy proved to be the man behind the occasion as the full-back hit the touchline before curling a cross into the path of Karim Benzema at the far post. However, the French star could only hit his subsequent attempt off the post.
Benzema regretted that mistake in the 33rd minute as Gavi put La Blaugrana 1-0 up. The goal came after Sergio Busquets took the ball away from Eduardo Camavingo in his own defensive third before playing the ball into the feel of Lewandowski on the edge of the box. However, instead of shooting, Lewa chose a smart pass into the path of Gavi to the left of the penalty kick, who after checking drilled the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Los Blancos were then at sixes and sevens in the first half and deservedly trailed by two goals at half-time. This time Gavi turned provider for Lewa and squared the ball to an unmarked striker in the penalty area – a chance Lewa clearly took.
Barca continued to threaten at the start of the second forty-five, Ousmane Dembele spurning a golden opportunity to make his side’s lead unassailable. After Alejandro Balde lunged down the left wing, the young full-back curled the ball superbly into Dembele inside the penalty area. The French forward controlled the ball well, but his effort on goal was smothered by Courtois in the Real Madrid goal.
A lack of energy and pace in Real Madrid’s play meant that, largely despite being two goals behind, Carlo Ancelotti’s men rarely threatened the opposition’s midfield.
Xavi’s men would deservedly make it 3-0 in the 70th minute after a quick counter-attack led by Gavi. The mercurial 18-yarder charged into the box before drilling the ball across goal and into the step of Pedri, who made no mistake with his finish.
Real Madrid would eventually get a goal back deep into stoppage time through Benzema, who fired home the second time of the asking after Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s save.
Real Madrid player ratings
GK – Thibaut Courtois – 7/10 – Made a few great saves throughout.
RB – Dani Carvajal – 3/10 – Simply couldn’t keep up with Balde or Gavi.
CB – Eder Militao – 3/10 – Put simply: he struggled.
CB – Antonio Rudiger – 2/10 – Ran ragged by Lewandowski all evening. Really poor performance.
LB – Ferland Mendy – 5/10 – Created Real Madrid’s only chance of the game. Well done…we guess.
CM – Luka Modric -4/10 – Looked tired in midfield. He was chasing shadows for most of the game.
CM – Eduardo Camavinga – 3/10 – Dispossessed in the lead up to the opener. Not at the races and subbed off at half-time.
CM – Toni Kroos – 3/10 – Looked so slow in comparison to Barca’s young energetic midfield.
RW – Federico Valverde – 4/10 – Nowhere near his usual standard.
ST – Karim Benzema – 6/10 – He didn’t look fully ready for this calibre of game after a lengthy injury lay-off. Managed to score very late on.
LW – Vinicius Junior – 5/10 – Similar to the performances he put in at the World Cup. No that’s not a compliment.
SUB – Rodrygo – 5/10.
SUB – Dani Ceballos – N/A.
SUB – Marco Asensio – N/A.
SUB – Nacho Fernandez – N/A.
Barcelona player ratings
GK – Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6/10 – He had literally nothing to do.
RB – Jules Kounde – 7/10 – Dealt with Vinicius Junior well.
CB – Ronald Araujo – 7/10 – Nearly scored in the first half and kept Benzema extremely quiet.
CB – Andreas Christensen – 6/10 – A pretty easy evening at the office for the ex-Chelsea man.
LB – Alejandro Balde – 7/10 – So dynamic with his running and so precise with his passing. Serious player.
CM – Pedri – 8/10 – His energy and quality running with the ball caused Real Madrid’s midfield a whole host of problems. Got himself a goal too.
CM – Sergio Busquets – 7/10 – Rolled back the years to lead Barca’s midfield press.
CM – Frenkie de Jong – 7/10 – Looks reborn in recent months. Another standout performance.
RW – Ousmane Dembele – 6/10 – Slightly wasteful but always looked a threat.
ST – Robert Lewandowski – 8/10 – Real Madrid’s centre-backs really struggled to contain him. Bagged a goal and an assist in the first half.
LW – Gavi – 9/10 – Scored a lovely goal and set up two others. He’s a ridiculously good footballer.
SUB – Raphinha – N/A.
SUB – Franck Kessie – N/A.
SUB – Sergi Roberto – N/A.
SUB – Ansu Fati – N/A.
SUB – Eric Garcia – N/A.