Real Madrid Defeats Barcelona In Second Leg to Win Spanish SuperCopa


           Real Madrid was victorious in the second leg of the Spanish Supercopa. By defeating rival Barcelona 2-1, Real won the Supercopa on an aggregate score of 3-3 but had two road goals to Barca's one. The difference ended up being Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes' error late in the first leg that allowed Angel Di Maria to score, making a 3-1 a 3-2 game and giving Real two road goals. Now for a quick game recap on how Real came out on top.

            From the opening whistle, Real looked like a completely different team from the last game. Real came out pushing Barca's defense, putting heavy pressure on the backline and Valdes. They were able to maintain possession while still being able to attack. Though Barcelona would regain and keep possession for minutes on end, Real remained dangerous while in the Barca half. Marcelo, getting the start for the suspended Coentrao, was superb. Marcelo is a more offensive player than Coentrao, and he brought that energy and skill with him. He was consistently playing through balls in to the forwards. Though none led to a score, Marcelo was able to push the ball forward to the goal scorers and really changed the pace compared to the first leg.

            The persistence of Real was rewarded in the 10th minute when striker Gonzalo Higuain, getting the start over Karim Benzema, was on the receiving end of a long ball that split the Barca backline. Mascherano completely missed the ball, making another critical error committed by Barcelona. Higuain was able to control the ball with great touch, ultimately slotting it into the net past Valdes.

            Real would continue to push, consistently pressing and attacking in the Barcelona half. They would have another breakthrough in the 18th minute when Ronaldo showed everyone why he is one of the greatest in the game. Ronaldo back-heeled the ball over defender Pique and sprinted by. Ronaldo was able to get to the ball and rifled one by Valdes for Real's second goal.

            The remainder of the half would belong to Real Madrid. In the 26th minute, Adriano pulled Ronaldo down from behind, denying a breakaway and earning a red card. With two-thirds of the game left, Barcelona would be down one man. Real would continue to have possession and were coasting into halftime. That is until Lionel Messi curled a free kick into the corner of the net past keeper Iker Casillas. Messi's goal was from 30+ yards, displaying the ability that makes him arguably the best in the world. Real would lead 2-1 at half.

            The second half was full of chances and close calls, mostly coming from Barcelona. Barcelona retained possession of the ball throughout a majority of the half, with shots on goal going both ways. Real was able to fend off a few scares from Barcelona, ultimately keeping them from scoring a second goal which would have given Barcelona the aggregate lead. Casillas would make a few big saves, and Messi would bend another shot around the net, narrowly missing the equalizer.

            A big reason that Barcelona lost was the absence of Messi. Taking away the last 3 minutes of each half, Messi was nowhere near the factor that he normally is. Pepe's presence (DNP last game) had a big part of it. Pepe is one of the toughest center backs there is, and he has the strength and skill to separate Messi from the ball. Messi wasn't able to command the ebb and flow of the Barca attack. The ball went through Iniesta and Xavi with far more frequency than Messi. Messi was not slicing through the defense. He wasn't fitting the ball through the smallest of windows to set up his teammates. Messi was not the player today that people have come to expect.

            Real Madrid's victory in the SuperCopa sets up what should be an exciting Liga season with many great Clasicos to come. By defeating Barcelona, Real looks like they might be able to repeat as league champions. 

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