Federico Valverde completed a superb counterattack in extra time to give Real Madrid a 3-2 victory over rivals Barcelona, in a thrilling Spanish Super Cup semi-final match in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday .
Real Madrid advance to the final next Sunday, and will face title-winning title-holders Athletic Bilbao and Spanish champions Atletico Madrid in Riyadh.
Vinicius Junior opened the scoring for Real Madrid with a counterattack in the first half, but Luke de Jong equalized before the break after a mistake by Real Madrid defender Eder Militao.
Karim Benzema restored the lead to Real Madrid after 25 minutes of the second half with a rebound in front of goal, but a header from substitute Ansu Fati, who was in his first game since November, sent the game into overtime.
Real Madrid scored the winning goal in yet another counterattack, as Rodrygo passed a low cross into the box, and Vinicius tricked Barcelona’s defense into trying to shoot, but he let the ball go to Valverde, who easily put it in the goal.
Real Madrid entered the game and are the favorites to win, but the leaders of the Spanish league suffered against Barcelona, who have won a lot of praise due to their level.
The stadium was supposed to accommodate 50% of its capacity due to measures to combat the Corona virus, but it seemed to be filled to the brim with fans who attended the first edition of the summit of the two teams outside Spain.
“We played well on the counterattack and scored three great goals,” said Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Real Madrid relied on defense and launching counterattacks for Vinicius Junior and Benzema.
Coach Xavi Hernandez’s developed side dominated the second half and extra time, and Ousmane Dembele posed a continuing threat to Real Madrid’s defense, which David Alaba missed after suffering an injury in the warm-up before the match.
Xavi said: “Today our desire to keep the ball was clear, morale was good even though we eventually lost.
He added: Real Madrid’s rebounds hurt us, and despite our loss, we have outperformed Real Madrid on several occasions, which is a very important turning point.
Xavi continued: We could have scored the third goal several times, Real Madrid had the ability to score the fourth and we can be proud of the game we played.
And he added: We dominated the game in several stages, we played with a few complications, the opponent took advantage of our mistakes, and we walk away with pride, but I’m really sad because of the result.
Barcelona coach noted: I have no complaints with the players, they all want to play and some of them are very young, and the time has come for some good results, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati have makes a difference and so does Pedri.
He continued: If we talk about today’s game we were close in level, but in the league there is a 17 point difference, Barcelona deserved to advance to the final and we are on the right track.
Xavi concluded, “Luke de Jong? He is part of the squad and no one plays for him at Barcelona. How would he leave? He’s scoring goals and playing well, and if he keeps that performance going, he’ll keep playing. “
Brazilian Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro said: We started the game well, scored a goal, but they equalized before reaching the second half, and it was natural to give them the ball and defend well. , and we respected Barcelona.
He added: The key to this team is that we are able to play in different ways, we have to know how to suffer and play against the opponent, everyone played exceptionally and we managed to qualify for the final.
Casemiro concluded: It was a great game, and today Valverde scored a goal which is a reward for his work, he’s great and we have a special team and that’s the secret to winning titles.