Spanish SuperCopa 2012: Barcelona Defeats Real Madrid In First Leg


           Real Madrid and Barcelona met for the first 'Clasico' today. The two rivals played one another in the first leg of the Spanish Supercopa. The Supercopa is between the team that wins the league title (Real) and the team that wins the cup title (Barcelona) the season before. The first leg took place in front of a full, raucous stadium in Barcelona. Heading into the game, both teams wanted to get off to great starts to help spark the start of La Liga. With that being said, Barcelona dominated the game and will look to build off their 3-2 win.

            The first half was all Barcelona. They dominated the ball, seemingly never surrendering possession of the ball. Barcelona had opportunity after opportunity, with the usual suspects taking turns on goal. Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Dani Alves, and Alexis Sanchez moved the ball at will in the final third, creating multiple opportunities. However, with all the chances, Real managed to fend off the attack. Real only put together a couple of attacks in the first half, unable to put multiple passes together. It seemed Real players were more interested in flailing on the ground trying to draw a foul than push the ball forward. Despite the play of each team, halftime brought a 0-0 score.

            If you love scoring, the second half made you one happy fan. Real came out with a completely different attitude, displaying a renewed sense of energy and desire. The possession battle was completely different in the second half, with the two sides possessing the ball much more evenly than in the first half. Possession aside, Barcelona still looked dominant. But in the 55th minute, momentum swung to Real. Cristiano Ronaldo planted a header into the near post (off a corner kick) past keeper Victor Valdes. The momentum was short lived.

            Pedro quickly responded, scoring just one minute later and equalizing the game. After Pedro's goal, things quickly changed once again in Barcelona's favor. In the 70th minute, Lionel Messi scored on a penalty kick, putting Barcelona up 2-1. Xavi would add one more in the 78th minute, pushing the score to 3-1. It looked like Real would be facing a big uphill battle next week in the second leg. But as things became dire, a ray of hope shone through the Barcelona defense. In the 85th minute, Angel Di Maria put one past Valdez on somewhat of a broken play to make it 3-2.

            That would become the final score, giving Barcelona the lead heading into the second leg of the cup in Madrid on August 29th. Though Barcelona dominated for most of the game, Real has a few reasons to think they can win the Supercopa. The first is that Real was able to score twice on the road (road goals are the first tie-breaker if total goals are equal). The second is that they played significantly better in the second half. They should look to continue playing well heading into their league game over the weekend and into the second half of the cup final next week at home.

            My guess: Real is able to play better defense and wins 2-1 at home and wins the Cup with 4-4 aggregate on 2-1 road goals.